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 379 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 379:
Computer IT master, flashfiction writer, and human, Mark Ethridge.
And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
“His world suddenly made sense.”
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 379”
Things had been changing for Malcolm, and when the evening unraveled, he was caught off-guard. But still, he understood enough to know it was all Elsa’s fault. She was the one who upset the routine. And she did it intentionally, by switching the channel to Dr. Phil when she should have left it where he had it–reruns of Gunsmoke. She wasn’t paying attention to him. He didn’t fully comprehend her motive and couldn’t contain his rage. As he began squeezing her neck, he felt her body go limp and her consciousness fade until she melted away entirely.
His world suddenly made sense.
word count: 103
“Hey, morning, Ella!”
Charles smiled but couldn’t sustain eye contact with the object of his affection, the stunning new addition to the office. She was hired as a Payroll Clerk; but six months in, she’s already being groomed for bigger things. Charles, after eleven years, was still a mere Records Clerk.
She beamed and looked at him. Looked through him. “Morning, sport! You getting after it, today?”
He cast his eyes to the floor. “Oh, you know me. Steady Eddy.”
She laughed; it lifted his soul. And today he would ask her out. Sure, he wasn’t much to look at, but he had other qualities. Around the office he was…what, loved? Not loved. Counted on? Yes, he was counted on. To plan the parties. To remember the birthdays. She would see that.
And for once, his feelings mattered. He mattered. He smoothed his hair and cleared his throat. His palms were soaking.
“Say, Ella. What are you doing after work today?”
She rolled her eyes. “Ugh, third date with this guy. Lawyer, you know how that is. Looks like a model and loves his money. Whatever. Catch you later, Eddy!” She turned on a heel and left.
The color drained from his face. His world suddenly made sense. He knew it to the core of his being; his net worth is measured in how he helps others. That’s the sum of Charles Baxter. He slunk to his desk; Roger’s birthday was tomorrow, he needed to buy a card.
Hope emerged from the OR, pulling the cap from her head and rolling her shoulders. She fluffed her short cap of hair and flopped into the seat next to me.
“That took longer than I anticipated,” she said. “I need coffee.”
“Is Yuri okay?” I shifted in the hard chair, ass and back aching from hours of waiting.
“He will be.”
“Do you think Taye attacked him?”
“No.” She snorted.
“But Taye thinks he did. Believes it. When he gave his statement—he was like a different person.”
“Yeah. Because he was.” She said it with a duh, stupid inflection. “His mind pretty much got hijacked.” She yawned. “Your perp will have wounds. Scratches. Bruised fists.”
“I don’t know—” I thought I did, but trusting my gut seemed dangerous.
“Listen to me.” Hope dropped her hand on my knee. “Taye’s a receptor. A psychic satellite dish. You get that, right? These things he sees and feels—they aren’t his. They’re just signals he’s picking up.”
“Not his.” World suddenly made sense—or at least headed in the general direction.
“No more than a song coming from the radio belongs to the radio. He’s just broadcasting a signal from a station.”
“You really believe that?”
“You think I say shit to make you feel better?” She cuffed the side of my head. “Re-engage that brilliant brain of yours, would you? Don’t be afraid of Taye.”
“Be afraid of the person who can make him believe he’s a monster.”
250 superhero words
Through Cats Eyes
Wilf Casey squirmed in bed, feeling a chain of aches the length of his body.
“Getting old’s a drag,” he said. No one was there, of course. Still, he wanted to make his point.
Off in the distance, from the kitchen, maybe, Frank the Cat’s grating gargle was demanding his attention. A death rattle gargle. The cat couldn’t or wouldn’t meow like a normal cat, had in fact taken up rasping out a god-awful sound of late, as if he were trying to howl like a Drill Sergeant.
All of a sudden, Frank scurried into the bedroom, leapt onto the bed, bolted across the blue comforter, heaved himself onto the window ledge above the bed.
“What in hell…?” Wilf demanded as Frank’s puffed-up tail billowed above his nose. Frank then started scratching the window furiously.
“You crazy cat,” Wilf scolded the flailing Frank. “There’s nothing out there. There’s never anything out there.”
Frank stopped his window grazing and looked down at Wilf.
Their eyes met.
“What?” Wilf asked. “Now you’re listening to me? After all these years?”
Frank turned his head towards the window again.
Wilf struggled to his knees.
Soon, both were staring out into the dark.
“Who are they?” Wilf asked.
There was movement outside. Hundreds of shapes walking.
“Couldn’t be,” Wilf said. “It just couldn’t be.”
But it was.
His peaceful neighbourhood was alive with the Living Dead.
Frank screeched again.
His world suddenly made sense to Wilf.
What was left of it, anyways.
Michael Olson by Terry Brewer, @stories2121 243 words
The list of things that Michael Olson did not like to do was long and varied. He fell in love when he was 25 and fell out of love when he was 34. When the latter occurred, he had a wife, two children, a $453,218.36 mortgage, and a job in the backroom of a Wall Street investment bank that required he do nothing but data-entry checks for seven hours each workday.
When he was 38, he was divorced, saw his two children every other weekend, lived in a one-bedroom rental in the northern Bronx, and continued his job doing nothing but data-entry checks.
Truth be told, Michael Olson never fit in. He was a disappointment to his parents. To his wife and children too. Even the supervisor who spot-checked his work. But mostly to himself.
Each day was ordinary to him. On an ordinary Thursday in early May, he stood on the Number 4 Train that he took to get home to his small apartment. And, as he ordinarily did, his mind wandered as he rocked in time to the train, paying scant attention to the others in the subway car. He was shaken from his reverie as the train jolted in fits and starts as it pulled into its final station, his station. He went down the stairs to the street. When he reached the door, someone held it for him. In that moment, in that glance, his world suddenly made sense.
“It’s not an easy story,” I shifted, uncomfortable under the weight of their eyes, and studied my shaking hands. “And you’re never going to believe me.”
I peeked at Tenzin. His serene face mirrored the silent temple where we stood, surrounded by dozens of demure monks.
“Tell me what happened.”
“He said his world suddenly made sense. Then he rose and walked to the parking lot. He changed right there in front of me,” I paused, dry-mouthed as I uttered the final words, “He became a Lotus.”
The monk bowed his head, his lips moving in personal prayer. When he finished, he lifted his gaze, smiled at me, and placed his right palm on my shoulder. It was a gesture meant to comfort me, but it didn’t help.
“Samlo do not distress yourself. I have long suspected Pema would find his way to transcend this world’s constraints. He committed himself to his journey of discovering true inner peace and enlightenment. It is not surprising he would awaken and move to another dimension. It is fitting his chosen form was a lotus blossom.”
“You don’t understand.”
“He didn’t turn into a lotus?”
“Well, yes, he did. But it wasn’t a flower.” Tenzin’s face contorted, but I couldn’t stop myself. “He became a big bright metallic orange-colored Lotus. The next thing I knew he was laying down rubber and squealing the tires. He took a lap, did a donut, then sped to the exit, leaving me in a cloud of golden smoke.”
My horse lands outside of a small cottage in Illinois. A bunch of new states have popped up and it’s my job to keep their dead moving.
Swinging my scythe, I bring a forty-year-old woman over. She was lucky to live so long. Her family wails and I sigh, giving her a gentle push into the waiting arms of her mother. I crossover two other women and then reach the end of my list.
I do so hate bringing children over.
Not even a year old and dying of starvation, given the poor home and bare cupboards. I can fix this before the family wakes up. Hurrying home, I raid our pantry and stock the family’s cupboards. Then I stuff an envelope with some of my earnings and leave it on the table. The baby whimpers and his stomach rumbles. Waving my scythe, his tummy fills a little and the hour glasses, the life-sands of everyone, refill for the family.
I return home to my parents.
“That was kind.” Mom takes my robes.
“Too kind,” Dad says, frowning. “You’re meant to bring them over, not save them.”
Mom puts a hand on Dad’s shoulder “His world suddenly made sense, didn’t it, Horace?”
“Yes. I’m meant to help people, not hurt them.”
I go to my room and close the door, smiling, hoping that family has a long lineage. There was something about that baby that makes me think I’ll see him again in a few hundred years.
I’d invited him in. What the hell was wrong with me? I must’ve had a serious “white knight” complex to invite in this burly, hard, badass biker who’d tossed men around like firewood. But it was the holidays and cold outside, and everyone deserved a hot cup of tea after something like that.
He’d been surprised and didn’t seem to mind the snow, which was weird, but some guys just have that massive internal furnace and wear shorts in a blizzard. This guy could’ve been like that. But I’d invited him in and I didn’t even know his name.
“Would you like some tea? My name’s Rochelle Stone, by the way. I figure you should know who your host is.”
He looked at me like his world suddenly made sense and he gave me a devastating smile. “My name is F L I N T.” His fingers moved with ease spelling out his name and I loved watching them. “Tea would be fine.”
It was so strange talking aloud to him when his communication came in the form of body movements and hand gestures. It almost made me want to whisper though there was no one else around to hear our conversation. Not even my owl Lacey sat on her usual perch in the rafters of my house.
“Make yourself at home while I get the tea started.” I blinked. I never gave strangers this much free rein in my home. I needed my head examined.
246 ineligible #ConcreteAngelsMC words (not including the name)
The watering hole was peaceful until an eager baboon bounded from the bank. He reached one of the flamingos as she started a run, before she could spread her wings. Grabbing first her leg and webbed foot, snapping it, the baboon’s deft move caused the creature to start in pain, flapping wings but giving the hunter necessary time to snatch her neck and break it, even before the other birds had managed to take flight. The baboon hauled his prize out of the shallows, delighted with his kill.
Tearing away the feathers, he gorged into the meat with his fangs, an expression of gloating on his face.
The alpha male of the troop of baboons approached. The older baboon could have insisted that the younger pay tribute with some meat, but instead he attacked the younger monkey with a thump that sent him sprawling. Rather than claim the carcass, the alpha lunged again at the prostrate, squealing younger male. The fractious dynamic between the pair had reached a point of crisis for the older monkey. His world suddenly made sense.
The alpha was keen to show more than just a display of strength. The younger monkey scrambled to his feet, and retreated at speed towards nearby bushes for cover. There, a lioness pounced out and onto the chasing alpha with a snarl. Bringing him to the dirt, she clamped her jaws over his throat, tearing it from his body hungrily. The troop scattered. Silence again fell on the plain.
249 words @ragtaggiggagon
Wizard stared at Jen, shocked that he’d said the words out loud. Watching as she practiced saying those words in the mirror twisted him up and he spit those same words right back at her. As soon as he did, his world suddenly made sense. He did need her. Like he needed air and the wind in his hair as he gunned his Harley down the open road. Like he needed food and his Nightrider brothers. Like his wolf needed to run under the full moon.
Moonstruck. Like an idiot, he’d jumped into the middle of a pile of pink taffeta and discovered the one woman guaranteed to knock him so completely off balance that nothing else mattered. Not air or wind or the open road, not food or his brothers or anything else. Just her. Just this woman with her shy eyes and stubborn streak and sweet ass and curves and a smile that lit up his life like fireworks on the 4th of July.
Her mouth still formed that perfect pucker from saying “oh.” In two steps, she could be in his arms and he’d kiss her. So he took those steps, swept her to him, and as soon as his mouth touched hers, everything was right in his world. Mine, he thought. Ours, his wolf agreed.
And as simply as that, Wolf and wolf claimed her, heart and soul. From that day forward until he no longer walked upon this earth. His mate. Now and forever. Amen.
250 moonstruck Wolf words in my #WIP_
His rowboat nudged up against the chimney stack and he looped the rope easily around it. The woman had a miniature dog clutched to her chest, and was sitting with her back to the bricks, her legs hooked to either side of the roof’s peak.
“Ahoy,” James said, still secure and dry. “You need any help?”
The woman nodded. She reached toward him, passing the furry bundle across. The dog was shivering and cold, and its legs dangled limply when he lowered it into the wooden box near the prow.
“You got room for one more after him?” she asked, a smile appearing, a sudden warmth touching at the corners of her eyes.
“I sure do,” he said, rubbing at his chin. “I’ve sudden need of a first mate. In fact, I’ve openings for a couple of crew-members, but they’ll both need to be small.” He unshipped the oars to make a little more room, then raised his hand to help her aboard.
“I’m Patti,” she said, stepping across, then staggered awkwardly as the boat pitched beneath her. She fell against him with a thump, so her arms snapped around his chest, their faces suddenly inches apart. “And I’m so very sorry,” she went on, now red-faced. “What must you think? Only, it’s been days since we climbed up there and we both …”
“…Just consider yourselves saved,” James interrupted, casting them adrift, slowly realising his world suddenly made sense. A hero’s life would suit him, he thought.
248 words ~ twothirdsrasta.blogspot.com
Paprika hugged her knees to her chest watching Freehold shrink and fade as the pirate ship carried her away. On her golem’s shoulder she was high enough to feel alone with her thoughts. How strange to be an escaped slave with her own golem.
“First time away from home?” a voice like grinding stones rumbled near her golem’s elbow.
Paprika looked down at a heavily scarred orc with white hair and tribal tattoos. Even with his giant blood, his head was half a foot lower than her perch. She looked back out over the sands.
“It was never my home.”
Her new companion hummed understanding. He leaned on the stern rail to watch the horizon with her.
“Does your captain know what’s she’s doing?” Paprika sighed heavily. “Lucretius is a dangerous enemy.”
“Things’ll work out. You’ll see.”
The dancing girl clenched her nails into her palms.
“He thinks he owns me! There’s nowhere in his world he won’t find me!”
The orc scoffed, “What makes it his world, suddenly?”
“Made sense in my head.” Paprika grumbled. “He does whatever he wants, gets whatever he wants and gets away with anything. Might as well be his world.”
Her companion hummed again. “By that standard you could just as easily say it’s Captain Kinnery’s world.”
Paprika yelped when she was pushed tumbling into the orc’s arms. The tiny captain who saved her from Lucretius purred from Paprika’s previous perch.
The orc sighed, “She does tend to want the highest perch around.”
249 Cat’s The Pajama’s words
“You’ve got to be kidding…” Sergeant Daryn Vaught’s hazel eyes followed the man’s resistance through the pane of glass that separated their rooms. Well built. Six-foot-two. Broad shouldered and able to pack a punch.
A special ops candidate to a T. . .if it wasn’t for the obvious defiance. Where was his fight training? That right hook was sloppy at best, though it got the job done.
“I know he seems less than…fulfilling, but-” Sharp eyes cut off Private Maxon’s response. He looked straight ahead. Four against one and Blake was still kicking the trained solders’ asses like they were his breakfast. “He just needs time to adjust and comprehend. His world-”
“Suddenly made sense?” The hint of mocking in Vaught’s tone did not go unnoticed.
He shifted his stiff posture. “I was going to say was suddenly thrown upside down, but-”
“You were supposed to have convinced him his newfound abilities meant something more. All we have here is a defiant, wild, and hotheaded mess on our hands. We do not have time for games, we must hit the ground running or the occult will demolish humankind.”
A yell of pain drifted through the glass, mostly due to the body that smacked against it, vibrating the bullet-proof pane. An uncontrolled trail of shadowy black fire coursed through the other room.
“Go calm your horsemen before he kills someone.”
“Yes, Ma’am.” Maxon strode for the door.
“And make him see he is humankind’s last defense against darkness.”
249 inspired words
I crossed the road like I did everyday on my way to the coffee shop for lunch; as did scores of my friends before me from the nearby high school. We were all like lemmings a local lady said; but what did she know? She was old like sixty or something. Just because some kid years ago was killed crossing the road down the street about what twenty years ago? Didn’t mean we couldn’t cross the street anywhere we wanted to.
I got to the coffee shop and ordered my usual. A little while later I crossed the roadway jumping when a car near hit me; pulling myself together I headed back to class like nothing happened.
I slipped into my seat and all at once the whispering began; then pointed fingers at me in my seat. I glanced over at my boyfriend and he was crying. I tried to get him to talk to me but he wouldn’t. I gave up and went home falling asleep in my bed. This went on for weeks the same thing happening over and over again.
This morning I decide this was all going to change today. I went as usual to lunch and crossed the road but this time the car hit me and I flew up into space. Now it all made sense. His world suddenly made sense. My boyfriend was mourning me. I really shouldn’t have disrespected my elder she was right I should have crossed at the light.
Welcome to Esoterica, Please Leave Your Reason at the Door
by M.T. Decker
She listened as he explained the things he’d seen, both in this world and the next. At first she had to keep from rolling her eyes, but as he told her about the fire that burned the soul, his world suddenly made sense.
He was crazy, and she wasn’t very far behind him. The world had come and gone. It had burned and been rebuilt and no-one noticed. So who was really crazy and who was truly sane?
She thought about it for a minute and realized it really didn’t matter, the majority ruled and told her they were right and wise– so of course she had to be insane, it was the only possible answer that didn’t upset the status quo.
She could have rebelled, but she knew they’d just use it to confirm her status. They said she was dangerous, to the world and to herself and they had her believing it, and that was the true madness.
If she had stayed, she would have been their poster child, and she couldn’t stand for that.
“And now you understand,” he said. “We are, what they think we are, based not on what we do, but what they imagine our motivation to be.”
And so, the chicken crossed the road, never to be seen again.
Word count: 217 (not including title)
#ThursThreads Week 379 is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope to catch you next week.