#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 381

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 381 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 381:

Siobhan1

Scottish Word Slinger, Dauntless romance author, and #ThursThreads host, Siobhan Muir.

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | EdenBooks |

And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.

The Prompt:

“There was no way out.”

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!

19 Replies to “#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 381”

  1. “Enid!”

    Though Arius has always been calm and steady – even when he’s upset – the panicked voice is impossible to mistake. And even if it didn’t resonate deep in my chest, the bracelet grows warm. A moment later, it’s tugging me back toward the forest.

    Trusting my intuition and the bracelet’s magic, I break into a run. I ignore the shimmering beings, block out the screams, and just concentrate on going where the bracelet wants. The heat slowly increases, until it’s a barely bearable burn, like skin on sand in the middle of the summer. Just when I think I can’t take it anymore, and my legs can’t carry me another step, I see him. Arius’ eyes catch mine, and we bolt toward each other. As his arms come around me, a rush of wind forces me to close my eyes and the ground falls away beneath us. 

    When everything finally settles, the first thing I notice is his reluctance to let go. The ground is steady again, the bracelet no longer burns, and when I look up I realize we’re back in the ruins. 

    “I’m sorry – there was no way out, and I couldn’t-”

    “Are you hurt?” He pulls back, but his hands cup my face, eyes intense. 

    “I’m-I’m okay.” I offer a shaky smile, unsure if he’ll believe me.

    In an act of unprecedented intimacy (the kiss doesn’t count), he rests his forehead against mine. “I’m so sorry I dragged you into this…”

    I wasn’t expecting Death to apologize.

    250 WIP words
    @katheryn_avila

  2. Another turn. The passageway narrowed, its roof closing in so we’d need to stoop to go on. The way back might as well be blocked; the creatures were loose, their snarls and the skitterings of their claws getting louder. They’d not hesitate like we were having to do; they’d our scent to follow and their eyes were well accustomed to the gloom.

    Paige raised her hand, brushing the fronds aside. The rock-face behind them brightened, shadowed carvings appearing as she directed the lamp across it, the arcane symbols crude but unmistakable.

    “It’s a Creationist tomb. Just like I said it might be.”

    “Does that change anything?” I leaned against the wall, feeling the damp leeching from the stone through the material of my jacket. My body was blocking the way the coyote-men would come, but they’d burst through me in an instant, barely hesitating before they fell upon Paige. And that would be the end of us; ‘Farewell, Mr and Mrs Indiana Jones’.

    Paige shook her head, cursing under her breath. She began to hurry, sometimes crouching and other times turning sideways as the dimensions of the passage changed. I followed up close behind, conscious of how close the creatures must be. We moved together almost as one until, suddenly, she stopped with no warning, the lantern falling to the floor.

    The pathway narrowed to a crevice which then came to an end, finishing in a rockfall. We’d enough light to see it was blocked.

    There was no way out.

    250 ad hoc words ~ twothirdsrasta.blogspot.com

  3. Oui et Non

    “Once there was “yes.” There was a sparkle to it. It filled the air.”

    “You’re confusing me. What the devil is “yes”? And there still is “yes.”. I just said it. YES!”

    “You’re saying it doesn’t make it so. Perhaps I am being a shade too subtle.”

    “A SHADE? You’re being bloody obscure. But, please, elaborate.”

    “Fine. Think of “YES”, the concept of the term, as how we think of the past. And not just the amorphous past but of how we felt, the country felt, the world felt when everything was simpler. When roles were clearer. When life was perfect.”

    “You’re nuts. The past was never perfect. My God, take the Fifties. The Red Scare. The Bomb. HUAC! It was a terrible time.”

    “You’re missing my point. Of course, if you drill down on any era, puncture the patina of the times, brush all the detritus away, that clearing, that oasis of memory is YES. It is a beautiful place to go. It is the way we remember our lives, real or imagined.”

    “Ah, finally. An admission. Whatever this “YES” of yours is, there WAS “NO.” Way out in the far reaches of time, maybe. It was there as well. Is still there.”

    “Maybe no is still there. But I want to focus on yes. Love is yes. Simplicity is yes.”

    “Poverty, War, and Black and White TV are also yes.”

    “Why do you persist with this negativity?”

    “Brother, you’ve got me. I just don’t know.”

    250 words
    @billmelaterplea

  4. She stared at her cell phone. Unknown Name. With no number. Spam. Probably. She never answered unless she knew exactly who was calling. The generic ring tone stopped. Chest tight, she remembered to breathe. And waited. A red dot appeared over the phone icon. Voice mail. Should she delete it? Her curiosity won. She pressed the button to listen.

    “I’m in your debt.”

    She quit breathing again. That voice. It haunted her. She’d been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Witnessed a shooting. Helped the one guy left alive get away. That one stupid act now bit her in the ass. She didn’t trust cops. Or anyone. How had he gotten her number? She carried a burner phone for a reason.

    “You know what I am.” He sounded sure of that. “One name. It’s done. I no longer owe you and I’m out of your life forever.”

    Could it be that simple? Would he kill the man who’d made sure there was no way out for her? She’d been on the run for months, using so many names she could no longer keep track. The Feds wanted her. The mob wanted her dead. The message ended.

    He materialized in front of her. “The name, Lucy.”

    Cold chills having nothing to do with the dirty sleet falling around her chased up her spine. He knew her name. Her real name.

    “No debts, Lucy. It’s you or him.”

    No choice then. “Jonathan Peveril.”

    “You’re free.”

    Maybe it was that simple.
    ****
    250 Moonstruck Mafia #WIP words
    @SilverJames_

  5. Alison, strapped down to the bed like a damsel trapped on the railway tracks, knew that she had done little to warrant her offering as a sacrifice. That’s how she felt. There was no way out now.
    You would not know me offline, I hope. You’re going to sit where you are and watch me type words carefully across the screen, sitting in my tee shirt and boxers, sipping my self-medicating Scotch, and we might just determine together if Alison escapes.
    Alison is my mother. I’ve set up a live feed in her room at St. Canice’s Home for the Elderly, and I have watched her being pushed into her bed and tied down. I have – with the aid of the high end camera’s night vision capability – watched her soil herself on two consecutive nights.
    I have more than enough footage now to initiate legal proceedings against the home. Alison was never a great mother. She’s forgotten how very poor she was as a parent. There was sexual abuse when I was eight years of age. She held me inappropriately more than once, until something told me it was so wrong that I slapped her and ran away. It was never spoken of again, but that wasn’t the worst of her bad parenting.
    Alison isn’t long for this world. I watch her sleep now. She has slipped into a fitful, uncomfortable nightmare. And I don’t know what to do. I may intervene, or I might just intervene too late.
    249 words @ragtaggiggagon

  6. She laughed before she could shove the humor away and he raised his chin.

    “What are you laughing at, human?”

    “Nothing. And the name’s Bailey, Corporal Swift.”

    “Be quiet, Bailey.” His voice came out unusually curt. She almost called him on it until she took in his body language and his attention over her left shoulder. She immediately tensed, the hair on the back of her neck standing up. “Don’t move.”

    Aw shit.

    Something had managed to sneak up on her and she had her back to it. Be aware of your surroundings, particularly your Six. How many times had her CO drilled that into her head? Not enough, I guess. She tried to relax her muscles, readying them for movement as she watched Swift’s body language. She might get herself into scary situations, but she was damn good at reading the terrain to get out of them.

    “Have you ever met a Manticore, Bailey?” Swift’s voice was conversational but his expression was not.

    Manticore? There was no way. Out of all the things she’d expected to be stalking her, a Manticore wasn’t one of them. Hell, I didn’t know I was trying to wrangle a centaur.

    “No, but then I’d never met a centaur before I met you.”

    “They’re big, fast, powerful, and deadly. And they don’t even have to get close to you to kill you.”

    “Oh lovely. Shall I make funeral arrangements now?”

    “It wouldn’t be out of the question.” Swift’s mouth quirked against the gallows humor.

    250 ineligible #Sirens words
    @SiobhanMuir

  7. No Way Out, by Terry Brewer, @stories2121, 236 words

    I was caught. And not for the first time.

    There were six of us. We met during Freshman Orientation and were all in the same dorm. I was on the fourth floor with Darryl and Jimmy and the three girls were on the third. That’d be Meagan, Susan, and Jill. Me? I’m Paul.

    We shared some classes and made a point of meeting in the dining hall for breakfast and dinner each day. Lunch was problematic because of class schedules. Most nights were spent hanging out, in our small rooms or in the common areas in the dorm or in the library. The pace was more frantic than high school; each of us was a star in high school but everyone at the college, except for some legacies, was a star in high school. Which meant we had to work.

    I’d just gotten back from Christmas break, a few days before most of the others. Well, all of the others except Jill.

    We sat at a small table in the largely-empty dining-hall. We’d both done well in the first semester and savored the comfort of knowing we wouldn’t fail out.

    I went to get us coffee refills. When I returned, my gaze hovered over Jill’s cleavage. When I sat, she smiled.

    “If you’d like to see more of them, that can be arranged.” Caught. There was no way out. Not that I was looking for one.

  8. Ready for Takeoff
    I got lost yesterday; the GPS in my car took me to the wrong area of the desert. It was way after midnight. I ignored all the “NO TRESPASSING signs and finally managed to find the airfield.
    Then I drove around and around the parking lot, sticking close to the perimeter, hemmed in by the thick coils of barbed wire, checking the time—over an hour late. What if they left without me?
    Finally, in desperation, I called the number they gave me.
    The disembodied voice on the other end mechanically intoned that it could help me find the departure pad. I thanked it, but I was extremely anxious and sobbing loudly.
    Then the voice began by telling me where they were NOT.
    Really? Seriously?
    I snapped back. “If you are going to help me find you, it does me NO GOOD to tell me where you are not. You are not connected to the air terminal. That tells me nothing. I don’t care where you are not, I want to know where you ARE.”
    “I am trying to tell you. You need to calm down.”
    I was driving in circles around and around this vast military complex but there was no way out.
    Then as soon as I saw the neon glow, I felt better.
    I parked and made my entrance to the disc-shaped sphere that was humming and buzzing, impatient to take off.
    I felt terrible for making them wait.
    word count: 242

  9. The darkness was rising, a roiling plasma of nothingness covering the world as far as the eye could see. I climbed easily up the mountain, its cracked surface providing me ready handholds in some places and in others, I simply sank my fingers into the rock and pulled myself higher. It was noon, and the people were out in the fields, at the markets, or on the roads. The ones in the valleys noticed the darkness first, some trying to run, others standing dumbstruck. But there was no way out, not from what I had wrought. It ate them alive, starting at the soles of their feet and working upwards. Once it touched you, the darkness consumed you. To them, it must have seemed alive – and that’s because it was. I’d been working for millennia to get this right, and I hadn’t made a mistake.

    Finally, I reached the top of the mountain and stood there, waiting. I would be the last victim of the darkness – how could one as cruel and casually malicious as me escape this ultimate judgement? But before it took me, I would see the world wiped clean. Every human, every animal, every bacterium – gone. There was no reason for it, it was simply what I existed for. There was one of me on every life-bearing world in the galaxy. Life could exist for only so long. It was no big deal – there were always new worlds being born. They’d die too, of course, thankfully.

    249 words
    @drmag00

  10. There was no way out.

    “Shit.”  He was screwed.  The tall wall prevented him from the alleyway where he could hunker down and hide.

    Reynard darted a look over his shoulder. So far, he was in luck. He hadn’t know who the woman was, but she wasn’t getting the hint that she had been robbed. He glanced down at the scratch on his arm where she had clawed him.  Crazy bitch. It was just a stupid necklace. She could get another one. But he did like the shine of it in the light. He looked down at the chain wrapped in his hand and shoved it in his pocket to look at a way to scale the wall. He wasn’t going to get caught.
    `
    He turned his attention to the wall, looking for a good spot to climb when a hand grabbed the back of his head. “Wha-?!”

    Wham!

    His forehead meat the brick. He blinked, confused and reached around to pry the vicehold that held him. “Let me g-”

    WhamI

    Warmth slid down his face, stinging his eye.

    Wham!

    He slumped to the ground.

    Heo knelt down and pulled the necklace from his pocket. Purple lips curved up as she looked at the delicate butterfly pendent. She started to rise when she stopped, reaching down to slide a finger through the thick ribbon off blood. She stared at it, nostrils flaring, and stuck it in her mouth. She gave a small moan. Delicous. And she was hungry.

    249 words
    @solimond

  11. The woman lay still and quiet. Her chest an unsteady up and down to match her unsteady breath. The hushed tones of her children’s voices bounce off the sterile walls surrounding her.
    She recognizes the voices of each of her children as they tell her the same things.

    “I love you, Momma.”

    “We’re going to be okay, Momma.”

    “It’s alright for you to go, Momma.”

    She is proud of each of her beautiful children, all grown up now with children of their own. A single tear follows the wrinkle carved in her cheek. She wants to see her grandchildren grow up, graduate, marry. But she is so tired of living in pain.

    After days of always feeling cold, today there is a warmth spreading outward from the middle of her chest through the tips of her fingers and toes. As the warmth spreads, a soft light envelops her and she is able to see the room around her. She moves her eyes around the room, seeing there was no way out. But, she doesn’t mind. This place is welcoming and filled with love. She doesn’t want to leave.

    The woman hears voices of loved-ones long gone.

    “Welcome home.”

    She once again feels the arms of her long-gone husband wrap around her. Looking beyond his shoulder, she smiles into the eyes of her mother and father.

    She is home once again.

    @TeresaMEccles
    230 heartfelt words

  12. “A pirate ship’s no place for a cute thing like you,” I scratch our little stowaway under her chin.

    Caitlin leans into it, purring like a real cat. We never expected to discover an island populated by tiny cat people while hiding out from The Great Navy. We certainly didn’t mean to bring one aboard. But the warm skinned cutie with mismatched eyes in the floral dress grew on all of us after finding her hiding in the hold.

    “Captain! Off our port stern!” Lookout calls.

    Something in his voice makes me stand and look too. Caitlin scurries up my back onto my shoulders. The little scamp has a strong love of high places. Captain steps out onto the deck. A monolith of muscle and spite, I swear the man has giant blood. Still, he’s not the worst aboard for our tiny guest, should they decide she’s more girl than cat.

    “Is it a ship?” Captain’s tone tells me he’s looking at the same open sea as me.

    If anything, Lookout’s more spooked, “There was!”

    “No way. Out this far it’s just us and the monsters.” Captain rumbles.

    Our timbers splinter from a hit to the port bow. A harpoon of black bone pierces Captain through the chest and my blood runs cold. The Babau. Just seeing a hellship is a death sentence, and Old Bloody Bones is the worst of them.

    “I’m sorry, Little One,” I place a hand on Caitlin’s leg. “We’re not getting out of this one.”

    250 Cat’s The Pajamas words
    @DavidALudwig

  13. Jorden felt a sweet breeze touch his body. It was a sharp contrast to the stale, putrid stench inside their cell. He pushed against the big oil drum until it keeled over on its oxidized rim and he rolled it away. It took him several minutes to clear the towering barrels stacked three high next to what he had assumed was a wall. With them gone, a weathered, rusty metal-clad doorway greeted him. Between the gaping fissures around the door handle, glimpses of freedom leaked into the darkness.

    He gritted his teeth and strode toward the glad rag girl cowering in the corner.

    “I thought you said there was no way out?” Jorden paused his fists clenching and unclenching as he waited.

    Sidera slumped, hanging her head she concentrated on the toe of her shoe as she traced patterns in the dirt.

    “They leave and never return.”

    “What? No waiting list for this paradise?” Jorden smirked, then grimaced as slime oozed down the walls trickling into the cracked foundation where everything disappeared.

    “Wait. There have been others? Where are the keys?”

    Sidera hands flew to her neck, and she dropped, crouching close to the ground. Jorden looped a finger under the chain and pulled them free.

    “You ready to go?” he asked extending his hand to her.

    With tears streaming down her face she looked up at him.

    “The gatekeeper cannot escape unless someone comes for her.”

    “I’ll come back to get you. I promise.”

    “They never keep their promises.”

    250 Words
    @JoHawktheWriter

  14. Entering the haunted house at the end of the block, egged on by my twin pals Jerry and Jimmy, I realized I should have listened to my gut that said no. Creeping up the rickety old staircase I entered the bedroom at the top of the stairs. Carefully cutting a piece of blanket off the old bedspread, I turned and found myself slipping down the stairs and caught myself. Outside my pals had ditched me and I wondered, why? I looked up and saw the moon full in the sky and twinkling stars and thought I’m going to get a switch when I get home.
    The streets looked unfamiliar though I’d travelled them many times before so I took the short cut through the woods entering my house through the back door into a dark kitchen.
    “Who the hell are you?” asked an unfamiliar voice as they turned a light on in my kitchen.
    “It’s Timmy, mommy,” I answered but I was confused how had mom aged so much in a few hours.
    Daddy entered the kitchen looking angry.
    “Timmy’s standing right in front of you,” Mama said to Daddy.
    “Ghosts all we have is ghosts. Take your pills Deirdre Jimmy’s not coming back,” Daddy declared.
    Now I understood the saying you can never go home again. There was no way out of that haunted house; a single dare had condemned me to a daily ritual of coming home again and again and again. A boy of ten forever trapped.
    250 words
    @SweetSheil

  15. “So, you’ve known for years your situation was—off—and yet you did nothing to escape?” The detective was doing the job, asking that question, but I watched the way his jaw worked. The way he licked his lips, grimaced as though he’d tasted something awful in the words.

    The boy didn’t understand the manipulation in play, and responded with exactly the gut fury and fear the recordings needed.

    “Escape? From a cage? You know that’s where this one—” He jerked a thumb my way. “Found me, right? Maybe the cage was the size of this room, but it was still barred and locked.”

    The detective’s gaze slid around the tiny room. Eight by ten, max. He tugged at his collar, as though feeling smothered by the small space.

    “There was no way out. Do you have any idea what that’s like? To see the world through bars? To always have someone bigger, stronger, meaner than you between you and freedom?” His eyes filled, tears shimmering in the glow of the interrogation room lights.

    The detective paused the recording. “We’ll take a break here.”

    The break was for him as much as anyone, I knew.

    “I didn’t ask for this,” the boy murmured. “I didn’t want it, I swear.”

    “I know that, kiddo. That’s why they grabbed you as a toddler.” I wrapped my hand around the back of his neck, soothing the tension vibrating through him. “Before you could learn to be big, strong, and mean back.”

    @caramichaels
    249 WIP words

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