#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 391

Welcome back to the home of Weird, Wild, & Wicked Tales. Today is Thursday and that means it’s time to start flashing. We’re half way through our eighth year of weekly prompts! This is Week 391 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 391:

Heidi R2

Book promoter and fantastic beta reader, Heidi Rundle.

Facebook | Twitter

And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.

The Prompt:

“But he needs to learn.”

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!

13 Replies to “#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 391”

  1. The Bench

    It’s my favourite bench. Every day I go there. Or plan to. Some days though, I can hardly move from my easy chair. Some days I miss the park, the bench.

    But today, I’m here.

    It’s a beautiful park and now that fall is moving on, there are fewer people. I don’t mind people. They’re okay, in their way.

    “Mister, hey mister…”

    I have company on my bench. The child’s about five, drippy nose, baggy pants, classic Dale Evans gumboots, warm winter coat, wide-eyed, like kids should be.

    The boots must be his mothers.

    Or grannies.

    “What can I do for you?” I respond.

    “William, don’t bother the man,” the woman with the boy admonishes, and then to me, says,” I’m sorry, he’s usually well-behaved most days but he needs to learn a few more social graces…”

    I shush her with, “He’s doing a fine job,” and to the chatty lad, I toss an adult size conversational crumb with, “What’s your question, William?”

    The boy brightens, scrunches his face with the look of either a serious thinker or a constipated elder, and fires away with, “You old, mister? You look old.”

    “WILLIAM, you can’t say…” William’s keeper jumps in to save my feelings and point out his worrisome lack of comportment.

    “It’s fine,” I interject. “He’s right. I am old. And in this time of fake news and Presidents who lie, I commend his acute powers of observation.”

    Pleased with my retort, I smile and take my leave.

    250 words
    @billmelaterplea

  2. The bell tolled as Dread settled within the princess. Dread, an uninvited guest as the bell announced her mother’s death. To the people that hated…, misunderstood…, feared… her. Dread followed Elle. Haunting every move. Like her peers when she could mingle. They would watch, stalk her; make her spine tingle in unfriendly ways, but never approach. Dread became her constant. It made her heart skip a beat as her mother’s casket was carried to the Hall of Past Kings and Queens. Where she would look down upon her visitors, should she have any beside Elle after today, for eternity. Dread held her breath when the King collected her. Dread made her skin crawl when he moved her hair covering the tips of her ears. The shame that flooded her for being different was hers and hers alone. Her only comfort, telling herself, “but he needs to learn.” Dread made her shake as they linked arms. Her desire to recoil from her fathers all her own, though to blame it on Dread would have been easier. Dread moved her, past whispers and looks, to the head of the crowded hall. Elle would have no guests. No one to hold her while she cried. Her mother was taken too soon as Fae were purported to live hundreds of years. Dread allowed the King to escort her from the locked tower without a fight or word to the contrary. Dread wasn’t welcome, but there was naught she could do to make Dread leave.

    @JMRoche79 (twitter)
    250 Words

  3. Powerless. That was me, more helpless than at any time in my life. Running away from the old me, coming here in hopes of fixing things was the worst mistake I’d ever made. Worse than walking into that convenience store. Worse than getting on the back of his motorcycle. Worse than waking up in his room, kissing him, surrendering to him. Worse than…no. Loving him was the worst. Irrevocably. Yes, love hurts. Sometimes. But this searing agony? The torment of knowing not only that he didn’t want me but that he never had?

    I fled. Blindly. You really can’t see very well when your vision is blurred by tears wrenched straight from the heart. I didn’t know where I was going, only that I had to get away. Far away. So far away I’d never find my way back because…dammit…I was not a masochist. I couldn’t do this anymore. Couldn’t watch him with other women.

    I slammed face-first into something solid. Warm. Hard hands gripped my biceps. I struggled, not that it worked. I tried, though. Voices filtered in through my sobs.

    “You should just let her go. If he’s going to be a total dick—”

    “But he needs to learn.”

    Strong fingers lifted my face, a thumb brushed away tears. Lips covered mine in a furious kiss as I recognized the man holding me. Right before we were hit by a freight train, I heard a roar of rage. From Wizard. The man who’d destroyed me.
    ****
    250 Nightrider MC #WIP words
    @SilverJames_

  4. I arrived at the high school principal’s office, tired and worried.
    “OMG mom they made me clean the classroom,” my son Travis exclaimed.
    “What did you do now?”
    “Used a Sharpie on a chalkboard. Big deal!!”
    “What did you write?”
    Travis didn’t answer because we were interrupted by the principal who ushered us in waited for us to sit down and then launched into, “I hated to make him clean the chalkboards, but he needs to learn.”
    “The punishment should fit the crime I answered, and then asked, “Do you have anything to say Travis?”
    “Matthew is an expletive; notice I’m not swearing, but he is…He pushed me in a locker. How come he’s not been punished for that?”
    “Good question, Principal Evans?”
    “My son, Matthew Evans is not in question here.”
    “Matthew is a bully. You really should address that,” I insisted.
    “Your son was caught vandalizing; you should address that.”
    “I am here! He will be punished besides the labour you already made him do,” I answered, “Matthew isn’t the only bully.”
    “Children should be able to handle their troubles at this age.”
    “It’s adults like you that make this a problem. Kids need to be taught bulling is unacceptable. You’re the principal, you set the standards.”
    “This discussion is over. Travis will not be coming back here.”
    “You’ll hear from my lawyer.”
    “Litigious parents!”

    Travis and I left. What she didn’t know was I the top lawyer at my firm; she was in for a big surprise.

    250 words
    @SweetSheil

  5. How long has it been?

    What does that matter?

    Is he going to move?

    I think so.

    He’s not moving. Did we make the right choice?

    We?

    You know what I mean. Oh! He’s getting up!

    Will you be quiet now?

    He’s just looking at the entrance. Why isn’t he going in?

    He’s scared. Now be quiet.

    But he needs to…

    Learn your place. I am his keeper, not you.

    That won’t matter if he doesn’t claim the power.

    Will you stop distracting him?

    It’s not like he can hear us. Can he?

    Why did you think he was chosen?

    100 words
    @DavidALudwig

  6. Blind Date
    “How’d it go?”
    “Oh gawd—AWFUL DATE! I thought the evening would never end. I wanted to leave the minute he got there.”
    “That bad?”
    “Where to start? His intellect, the hair, the teeth, or his clothes?”
    “All of it. Gimme the scoop.”
    “First off, he can’t even string two words together. And it looked like he hadn’t combed his hair in a week. Dirty fingernails, and his teeth were awful.”
    “So whad ya do?”
    “I tried not to look at him.”
    “Which was tough, because he was right across the table.”
    “Correct.”
    “So what else?”
    “His clothes.”
    “What about his clothes?”
    “Jeesus! He was wearing a plaid jumpsuit.”
    “A plaid jumpsuit? Really?”
    “Yes. That snapped up the front. With pearlized buttons.”
    “That sounds terrible.”
    “It was.”
    “Well, at least you can be glad it wasn’t orange.”
    “Yeah, you’re right about that. An orange jumpsuit would’ve been even worse. But at least
    they don’t have those stupid snaps.”
    “You know he’s gonna ask you out again.”
    “He already did.”
    “He did?”
    “Yeah. Texted me the minute I got home.”
    “Whad he say?”
    “The usual. You know—Had a nice time, really glad to meet you, put a face to the name. That
    shit.”
    “Whad you say?”
    “Same. ‘Nice to have met you’ garbage.”
    “What about another date? What are you gonna tell him?”
    “No, of course. Then I’ll tell him all his faults. Hair, teeth, fingernails, clothes.”
    “That’s cruel.”
    “Maybe, but I’m on a crusade. He needs to learn.”
    Word count 249
    @rrats 1231

  7. The Dark Plane shakes when my foot slams heel first onto the polished stone floor. A bolt of lightning sends pieces of floor flying.

    “You fire that bastard or I quit!” I scream, as my friend Adrianna rushes from her office.

    Thunder shakes the Dark Plane as she pulls me into her office. A cup of tea appears in my hand, the steam fogging my purple-framed glasses.

    “Now that we can talk without lightning bolts, what’s wrong?”

    Adrianna coils her hair into a messy bun, her billowy black robes disappearing.

    “That’s the sixth time this week Jordan’s crossed over someone who was alive! Is he blind or can he not fucking read?”

    “I trust you trained him to read the list he’s given and that only dead people should be crossed over?”

    I roll my eyes. “You and I both know I did my fucking job, now he has to do his!”

    “But he has to learn.” She pulls out two bottles of Pepsi and hands me one. “And he learns by making mistakes.”

    I snort. “It’s time to be in charge, dude.”

    I leave and slam the door behind me. The Deather in question shrinks as I stomp toward him.

    “You listen here, you little shit. You are in service to Death until your debt is repaid. And at the rate you’re going, that’s going to be a lifetime.”

    He withers on the floor and I take the tunnel home. God damn newbies.

    @Aightball
    244 words

  8. The sleigh bucked again, and another elf fell to earth. He’d probably find his way home before Easter. They were a hardy species and particularly inventive, so the senior crew members didn’t hesitate.

    Inside the carriage, it was as hectic as always. The Old Geezer was consulting one list, whipping out his pencil and scoring through names, while the Aged Mother was reading another, bellowing out directions through the window up towards the Krampus. The sleigh had been zigging where it should have zagged, and they were already a week behind schedule.

    “So, what do you think,” Mother asked, patting the baby. “How about we try Junior down a couple of chimneys?”

    Her husband shook his head. “He’s too young and too well fed. He’ll get himself stuck.” He looked down at his stomach, then added, “He doesn’t know the tricks. Time, space and the wibbly wobbly stuff. He can’t do any of that yet.”

    “But he needs to learn. You’ll have to phase him in sometime. Let someone else take a turn at the reins.”

    The sleigh suddenly slipped sideways and for an instant they were in free-fall, the baby – who looked more like he was seventeen than seven months old – letting out a squawk that made the Krampus peer down from above.

    “There ain’t nobody else taking charge of the driving,” he said. “And definitely not the brat. Surely you can start him off small – I hear the Tooth Fairy gig’s a good one.”

    249 seasonal words ~ twothirdsrasta.blogspot.com

  9. Curses

    We never really liked to talk about the curse, it had been part of our company psyche since its inception. It tended to make life difficult at times, but it was never boring.

    The old-timers liked to sit back and watch the ‘new guy’ when they first encountered the curse. My brother was no exception. I tried to warn him, but he insisted I just didn’t understand how hardware worked, and that it was cute.

    After that, I figured he deserved whatever came next. Almost.

    It started when I heard the smoke detector going off in the break room. I made sure my backups were on dropbox and grabbed my umbrella. Almost on cue 37 umbrellas formed a shield wall protecting employees and paperwork alike as our manager went to check out the ‘fire.’

    Security sent the video feed to our monitors and we all watched as my brother tried to put out the coffee-pot fire with the coffee. I was torn between defending my brother and watching in horror for what I knew would come next.

    First comes water then comes foam… and then, the warning lights indicating that all air was about to be removed from the room. I could see the vein on his temple start to twitch as he ran for the door.

    I almost felt sorry for him, but he needs to learn, nothing calls down the wrath of the fates by saying that curses don’t exist… or calling your sister ‘cute.’

    249 words (not including title)
    @mishmhem

  10. My son broke his nose yesterday. But he needs to learn that you can’t go around getting punched in the head. I covered up all the mirrors in the house with towels so he can’t see his stupid face. He’s whimpering in his room all night and day. It isn’t the first time he’s whining in his room.

    Last week, he got his two front teeth knocked out. They’re baby teeth so the new ones ought to grow in some time in the next couple of years. So he needs to learn, alright, but there’s no teaching him. He painted the radiator with his paint pens last week. Thought he was doing everyone a favour. I showed him he wasn’t, of course, and punched his mouth, and last night, when he was bounding around the house pretending to be a dragon, I showed him what a real dragon could do.

    “Do you really have to pretend to be a dragon?” I asked him, and I hit him so hard his head flew back into the wall, putting a hole in the plasterboard. Then I got real mad. So he’s been in his room ever since.

    I googled broken noses, and his little shnozz will possibly re-set itself, if given enough time. I didn’t let him go to school today. I said he’s grounded till he stops whining. He could get better grades, of course, and he could do without skipping school – as could most kids – but he needs to learn.
    249 words @ragtaggiggagon

  11. Swift slowed to a walk and Roxanne turned to look over her shoulder. They left the lake behind and had traveled deeper into the rolling hill country covered in thick grasses that came up to Swift’s belly. They’d be up to my waist. And I still have my arms wrapped around his.

    She yanked her hands back and slid off him, indeed disappearing into the grass up to her hips. He kept moving as if he had no interest in what happened to her and she scowled, but kept up with him despite his four legs to her two.

    Courteous folks would wait. And Swift was anything but. He needs to learn some manners, no question.

    She followed him awhile until he caught his breath and stopped at a place where the hills rose higher and scrubby trees took root. She hadn’t seen any of this kind of terrain near Mack’s camp and her sense of direction had been skewed by their run. The grasses grew shorter here, only up to her knees, and the air blew cool from the would-be forest ahead of them.

    “How far did you run?”

    “Wasn’t keeping track, human. Manticores are deadly. It seemed prudent to put a fair distance between us and it.”

    “Are you telling me you bolted like a spooked horse?”

    He scowled. “You’re the one who said just keep running.”

    “So where are we now?”

    “Safe, for the moment.”

    “Oh, good. We’re lost, but at least nothing’s trying to kill us.”

    250 ineligible #WIP365 words
    @SiobhanMuir

  12. “I need to help him through this.”

    “You are.” Hope’s shoulders slumped, her hands dug deep into her hip pockets.

    Sean felt the other shoe dangling at the end of her words. “But?”

    “He needs to learn some things for himself.”

    “What things?”

    “That he’s safe. That he has a voice with us. That he’s heard. Listened to.”

    “Of course, he is.” Sean paced the room, dragging his hands through his hair. “How many times do I have to say—”

    “Shut the fuck up.” Hope spat the words like verbal bullets, and Sean staggered to a stop.

    “Excuse me?”

    “Please.”

    “Hope.”

    “Sean—just. Just listen, okay?” She huffed, like he wasn’t the brightest crayon in the box. “You can tell your brother he’s safe all day long. You can tell him he can trust us. But words have no value to a man who’s spent the last four years of his life knowing he couldn’t trust anyone around him.”

    “Why didn’t he contact me?”

    “Because that’s what your father wanted. He wanted Taye to lead him to you.” Hope sank down on the couch, head tossed back. “The only control he had was in the information he refused to give your father.”

    “Then he should have broken.” Sean wanted to rewind the years, to take back everything Taye had suffered. “He should have given me up. I could’ve taken care of myself.”

    “You protected him as kids, right? Took care of him?”

    “I guess.”

    “He only repaid the love.”

    @caramichaels
    250 WIP words

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