Welcome back to the home of Weird, Wild, & Wicked Tales. Happy New Year 2020! Are you ready for a new decade? 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 394 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 394:
Erotic romance author, editor, and cowboy connoisseur, Paige Prince.
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And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
“Do I look like I’m twelve?”
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 394”
Staring at herself in the mirror, Bysen can’t help but wonder – do I look like I’m twelve?
Because she certainly feels like she still is. Forever caught between childhood and the beginnings of growing up. But, as Gareth and Canaan remind her every day, she’s no longer a child. At nineteen, she’s long past the freedom of someone with no responsibilities.
She knows she’s not the only one who wishes she were still a child. That she weren’t in line to inherit Canaan’s place in their family. But she is, and no amount of staring at herself in the mirror, wishing otherwise, would change it.
A knock at the door startles her from her train of thought, and she rushes to open it.
“Missed you at breakfast, Sen.” Dessa walks into the room like she owns it – it’s how she walks into every room, and Bysen has always envied her cousin’s confidence. Dessa is only a year older than her, and yet that gap feels like a decade sometimes.
“Time got away from me.”
“That’s been happening a lot lately. Are you okay?” She places a basket – filled with breakfast, no doubt – on the vanity before sitting at the edge of Bysen’s bed.
Bysen scrambles for an excuse. “Just nervous, I think, to meet Canaan’s fiance.”
“I hear she’s lovely, so you shouldn’t be nervous.” But that’s easier said than done.
Bysen has never been great at making friends. Especially with mages as renowned as Layla was supposed to be.
250 fantasy novella-turned-novel words
“It’s getting late,” she complains. “Best be off to bed.”
I glance up at her. I’ve sunk down into the leather couch like a cow caught in a bog. Arising will be a bit of a chore.
And unpleasant in front of her Highness.
“I prefer to stay here for the time being,” I say with a cranky tone twist.
Flames of anger blaze from her eyes. She cannot abide my resistance to her authority. Still, she controls herself. It’s a point of pride with her, her quiet unassailable authority.
“The others have gone to their rooms. They understand the rules. The staffing demands. What make you any different from them?”
She has me there. I am no different at all from any of my companions in decline. Over time those who chose have told the stories of their lives. While some were, by my standards, mundane, they all spoke of some measure of planning, of control. Not all had experienced the freedom that I once had before time rode up my backside and pushed me down.
I want to ask her how it will be for her when the shades of her life are pulled down.
I truly want to ask her how she sees me.
To ask, “Do I look like I’m twelve?
Or two hundred?”
In the wee hours, when I once wandered freely, seeking sustenance, pursuing my dark pleasures, I would have enjoyed chancing upon her.
Mercy, these feral thoughts I have!
“Listen to the voice inside. It holds the wisdom you seek and knows the truth.”
At first, the voices kept repeating the horror stories about vampires and things that went bump in the night. Do I look like I’m twelve and afraid of the dark? He was a badass detective of the LVMPD, for glory’s sake. He went looking for the dark.
Rejecting the well-worn pattern, he inhaled deeply like Master Kindle had instructed and tried to listen for a different voice. A stronger, wiser voice. If he had one.
“What if I don’t have that voice?” Okay, maybe I am twelve.
Master Kindle grunted with dismissal. “Everyone has this voice. Perhaps you think of it more as your gut. It knows more than what your mind tells you.”
Gut feelings Jameson knew very well. They’d saved him countless times in the field. So what is my gut telling me about vampires? Again, the old stories came up, but he shoved them away like raucous crows to get to a deeper understanding. What did his gut really feel?
Down deep in his core, where the foundation of understanding sat solid, a new voice spoke up. It sounded unflinching, dry, and sarcastic like the first police captain he served back in Oregon. He’d respected the man for being unflappable and steady.
“You gonna let the fools and panic-mongers choose your path, Whiskey? Or you gonna learn there’s more to this than what you’ve been told? I thought you were a detective.”
250 ineligible #Capitolof2ndChances words
She pulled the hoodie down and turned to me. “So, do I look like I’m twelve?”
I grinned. “Not with that ass, sweetie.”
She swatted me, thought about it, and then punched me in the arm. “You know what I mean, you asshole. Do I look like I’ll fit in with the girls at the Taylor Swift concert?”
“You’ll be fine.”
“Will I? You know this is the first ‘mommy-daughter’ outing I’ve taken Hannah on since you married me. I just want it to go right.”
I pulled her close to me and kissed her on top of the head. “You’ll be fine. Hannah likes you just fine.”
“She’s got a funny way of showing it.”
“That’s because she’s twelve going on twenty-five. She’s got a funny way of doing everything.”
“Gods, I remember. Or I thought I remembered. Maybe I blocked puberty out entirely.” She paused, looking up at me, clearly scared. “Maybe you should go with her.”
“Oh no. I’m not going to listen to that much shrieking. If it was Taylor and a guitar and me and Hannah, maybe.” I kissed her again, this time with a little bit of intent. “Look, just don’t go all ‘mom’ on her and her friends. Make sure you know where they are, otherwise let them come to you. They’re going to want to act all grown-up, so let them, some. Then bring her home and tell me everything.”
“Okay. If you’re sure.”
I laughed. “No, but it sounds good, right?”
“Do I look like I’m twelve?”
Cody arched one eyebrow, looked at his newly-teenaged daughter, and counted to…oh hell, maybe sixty. Sixty would work.
Dalton rolled his eyes. “You’re flat-chested enough to be eight, sister.”
“I’m not flat—”
“As a pancake.” Ah, nothing was quite as icy as a seventeen year old brother, was it?
“I hate you all! I am not a little girl anymore!” Britt stamped her foot, and Cody considered just getting in his truck and letting his husband deal with all this nonsense.
“I thought you were going on forty, Brittany.” Hank wandered through the house, covered in…
“Oh my God! What the hell did you do, mud-wrestle an alligator?” And what was that smell?
“Daddy! I want a—”
“You.” Cody pointed to Hank. “Get your skanky ass outside and hose off or you’ll be sleeping on the sofa. You.” Now he glared at his son. “Get your ass outside and muck out the stalls, and you, young lady?” He pierced Brittany with a glare. “No nose rings. None. Ever.”
Christ, he needed a beer.
Tarquin’s saddle dwarfed the pony. The groom who’d adjusted its cinch had tried his best, but it was still loose. Anyone trying to mount it would almost certainly fall. But at least they’d not fall far.
“You can’t be serious. Do I look like I’m twelve?” He stomped around his surrogate ride; his strides slowed by the mud. “I mean, who…what…why on earth would anyone do this? Look at this; the stirrup irons are already trailing. If I were to mount this creature, I’d be able to walk with it while I was riding.”
The Irishman in charge of the stable mumbled, kneading his hat. “But, sire,” he said, “She’s the only animal available. I’ll admit you and Dolly could be better suited, but you gave us no notice. If you’d thought to book beforehand, we could have made arrangements. Borrowed a steed from another stable. It’s unfortunate, sire, but we’ve got a limited number of horses and an abundance of people wanting to ride.”
Tarquin considered his options. He could leave and ask him to return his saddle, but that would make the little man’s day. He’d be laughing about him while he was drinking his stout in the bar tonight. The grooms he remembered from his father’s estate had been just as bad; each of them surly and opinionated and untrustworthy. There was no wonder the family stables had gone bankrupt.
“So be it,” he said. “Today, we ride.”
241 well-bred words ~ twothirdsrasta.blogspot.com
Opening the door, I discovered my exit blocked by a wall of muscle. Big, badass muscle. In a black suit. That fit like it had been tailor-made. Which, if he was a mob henchmen, it likely had been.
“I’m going out.”
“Don’t think so.”
“I’m perfectly capable of taking care of myself.”
I pictured cartoon steam escaping from my ears. “I’m—”
“Not going out alone.”
“Are you serious?”
I threw my hands above my head. “Gah! What is up with you people? Do I look like I’m twelve?”
His gaze raked me from head to toe and back again stopping and appreciating all the appropriate girlie bits. “Baby.” He drawled that one word out until it spoke a whole sentence.
“I’m a grown woman.” My voice grew strident and I resisted the urge to stamp my foot. Barely. So okay. I wasn’t twelve but I might, just maybe, possibly be acting like I was. And a spoiled brat. It wasn’t his fault he’d been stuck with this detail. Nope. This one was all on my father. The Bastard. People called him that. To his face. Like a title. Too bad he lived up to it with royal asshat behavior. Like keeping me prisoner in my own apartment because he decreed I was getting married. To a stranger. His rival’s man. Like Romeo and Juliet. Only not.
“Good. As your fiance, I am pleased you are not a child bride.”
I was so screwed.
250 Moonstruck Mafia words
“This is a terrible idea!” Dale slammed his head back against the outside of the woodshed.
“Do you have a better one?” From inside the shed, Pala laughed musically. The way she always did when Dale was seriously worried about something.
“The Dawner family is more powerful than anyone we’ve gone up against before.”
Dale scanned the woods around them, senses sharp for any intrusion. Though this time of year they should be clear from here to the main estate.
“You make it sound like we’re going to make enemies of them!”
“Getting caught without an invitation could do that. Easily.”
“We know their daughter, or one of her friends, saw something. It’s the only lead we’ve got.”
Dale tucked his fists under his biceps tensely.
“I still wish you were at least taking a dagger with you, or something!”
“To a birthday party? Are you psycho?” Pala chided.
“Are you done yet?”
“Almost,” Pala lilted. “The Dawners are important people; I’ve got to look my best!”
The shed door swung open and Pala emerged into dappled forest light, sandy blonde hair in a fancy updo over big rain blue eyes. Her store-bought silk and lace dress perfectly pulled her ungainly limbs toward emerging elegance.
“Tada!” She spun for him. “Do I look like I’m twelve?”
Dale averted his eyes with an awkward nod.
“Remember,” she tapped the leather holding the base of her bun. “My identity band is in my hair today; in case I need to change again.”
The two women watched the small group of men enter the bar. Cynthia nudged her dark-haired friend. “You should go in, Vera. They are all so hot. I bet they’re firemen. Or policemen. Or boxers. Oooh, I know! I bet they’re pilots.”
“Why don’t you go in, since you’re all gung-ho about them?”
“Because I’m not the one who just broke up with my boyfriend of two years. You need to get back in the saddle, you know? Start dating again.”
“Back in the saddle? Really, Cynthia, I’m not some kind of cowgirl. Besides, what am I supposed to do? I look like I’m twelve.”
Cynthia looked Vera over with a critical eye. She wasn’t wrong, she did look like she was twelve. Cynthia leaned across the table and pulled the ponytail holder out of Vera’s hair.
“Fluff your hair. . . That’s better. Now you look at least sixteen.” The sarcasm was palpable. “Do you have any makeup in your purse? I know damn well you can look your age, I’ve seen you do it.”
Vera took her purse to the ladies’ room and came back to the table minutes later with makeup on. Looking at her, Cynthia shook her head.
“I don’t know how you do it, but you finally look like a grown-up. Now, go over there! Wait. Don’t go over there.”
Vera shot her friend a confused look. “No?”
Cynthia smiled, “No.” Her eyes flicked to just above Vera’s head. “Hello fellas.”
I’ve heard of people who think they’re vampires. They are some of the hardest souls to cross over because they so fully believe they are vampires.
“It’s Mihai, actually.”
“Well, I believe your…mother and aunt are waiting for you.”
Mihai smiles, incisors sharpened to fine points. He doffs a top hat, as two women walk through a door.
“I thought he gave up that vampire stuff,” a plump blond stage whispers to her companion, equally plump, but with red hair.
Both size him up. He’s in traditional vampire dress: black shoes and slacks, white button up shirt, red tie with a gold and purple multipoint star on it. Arms outstretched, he starts forward, but the women shake their heads.
“Drop the act before you come home.”
“Do I look like I’m twelve?”
I need to intervene. After all, the truth must be made known.
“Hold up. Mihai, I understand you have a strong belief in your vampirism. The truth is that while you’re welcome to live the life you’re most comfortable in, being a vampire isn’t really a thing, you know? You’re dead for real now.”
“Stephen, you drop this charade! I didn’t like it when I was alive, and I like it even less now! You get dressed and then get your rear over here.”
Mihai takes off his hat, tie, and cape, and folds them neatly. His mother takes his arm and yanks him forward, pulling him beyond before I can say a word.
“Hey, Reggie, how do I look?”
“Lovely, child. As always.” The dragon barely spared a glance at my armor, engrossed in some magical tome.
“Lovely?” I shouldn’t get pissed at a dragon. “Child?” It couldn’t be good for my health, but— “Do I look like I’m twelve or something?”
Great, golden eyes studied me.
“Do you wish me to be honest? Or nice?”
“What?” My sword thunked tip first into the dirt.
“Ah, you meant that as a rhetorical question.”
“And now you’re angry because I maybe just implied you do look like you’re twelve.”
“I’m rusty at reading humans.” Reggie waved a clawed forearm. “Too many facial nuances for comfort.”
“Also, I’m some three thousand years old.” Apparently, dragons could whine when making a case for accidental insensitivity. “Everyone looks twelve to me.”
“I’m going to interpret all of this as I look badass yet youthful and move on with my life.”
“You are a most agreeable human. Much nicer than the ones whose village I razed.”
“You razed a village? Reggie! An—entire—village?”
“Just—a small one?” Was he—wincing? “But they had pitchforks. A-and torches!”
“Traumatic, I’m sure.”
“And this happened when?”
“Hmm…around 500…ish? The calendar was a bit looser in those days.”
“So you’ve been hiding—”
“Hibernating—” Smoke curled from the dragon’s nostrils.
“All this time?”
“It seemed like the thing to do.” Reggie set the spell book aside. Shrugged. “At least, until you came along.”
I did my best to keep to the shadows. Being seen these days was rarely a good thing. People were roving in gangs if they were roving at all. More and more people were being divided into the shamblers and those who would be shambling soon enough.
I opened my senses as I tried to get a feel for the over sized mall. Even before the dead stopped dying, this place had been abandoned.
It was built in the ‘70s to serve the shopping needs of folks on the west side of town. Time, competition and a series of murders kind of took the charm out of the place.
That made it the perfect place to set up camp, mainly because there was nothing left to scavenge here.
I staked my claim to one of the storerooms on the second floor.and was on my way out when I met Oscar, or more the point, I met his Louisville Slugger.
The introduction ended in a lot of sparks and pain, and then blackness.
When I came to, I was sprawled out on the floor, with Oscar standing watch. I guess he realized things weren’t quite what they seemed.
“Hello?” I asked experimentally.
“Hey, sorry— thought you were a shambler.”
I blinked. “Do I look like…”
“I’m twelve?” he half asked, half stated. “Everyone looks like they’re big, shambling and dangerous.”
He had a point.
243 words (not including title)
#ThursThreads is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope to catch you next week. 🙂