#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 398

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 398 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 398:

Renaissance Woman, Newfie mom, and Romance Author, Silver James.

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads |

And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.

The Prompt:

“I didn’t sign up for this.”

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 398”

  1. Twitter: @ClaireDavon
    Word Count: 248

    Story:

    “I didn’t sign up for this.”
    My co-worker faltered at my words, peering down at me in surprise.
    “Boss says you did.”
    “Nope.” I remembered the sheet for the optional teambuilding event tomorrow. I had waved it away when Rebecca tried to hand it to me. I thought that was the end of it. No such luck.
    “It says it right here.” Jim showed me the eight names, which included mine. “You know what they say. Teamwork makes the dream work.”
    I groaned at the cliché, my eyes fixed on the list. All of the members of my four-person team were present, leading me to wonder which one had signed up the new girl. Someone was having a laugh at my expense.
    “I don’t want to go. This is so not me.”
    Jim moaned. “You can’t do this. We have two teams of four and if you back out we’ll be shorthanded. Come on. We need you.”
    Laser tag was not my idea of a good time. It was more like the ninth circle of hell. I glanced over at the three other people who comprised my new team, but they were looking elsewhere. I hadn’t cracked their friend code in the month I’d been at the company.
    “Fine,” I said, sighing in defeat. “I’ll be there.” I was already dreading the event, knowing my clumsiness with such things.
    “Great!” Jim brightened, the relief at having accomplished his goal clear. “It will be fun.”
    Turned out, it was.

  2. Memory Stuck

    It’s warm. Damn warm. Must be the sun.
    Open your eyes.
    I can do that. Have to. Gotta see where I am.
    Damn peepers seem glued shut.
    That’s what fingers are for, I guess. Pry those sucker lids open.
    Just don’t let your fingernails poke those precious eyeballs.
    Did that once.
    I think.
    Must’ve been painful.
    Maybe it wasn’t me?
    Who the hell was it?
    Brains scrambled, that’s for sure.
    There.
    Open.
    Nice room.
    I’m not alone in this bed.
    She has a nice curve to her back.
    All the way down to her tailbone.
    And beyond.
    I must be a lucky sonofabitch.
    Except for the pool of liquid.
    Red gunk.
    Blood.
    What the hey!
    “Welcome back to the land of the giving, sunshine.”
    I focus.
    Slick looking guy.
    Armani suit.
    And a gun.
    I don’t know guns.
    Just suits.
    “Land of the giving?” I ask
    “Giving. Yeah.”
    “That’s not the saying,” I correct him.
    “Oh yeah, it is buddy boy. You’re giving me a patsy. Fiona would’ve enjoyed the irony.”
    “Fiona?”
    “Your dead bed companion,” he says, pointing his weapon at the body.
    I look. Touch the small of her back.
    Skins cold.
    “Fiona?”
    “Yup.”
    I try to remember.
    Something.
    Anything!
    Keerist!
    I didn’t sign up for this.
    Or did I?
    No clue.
    “It might come back, buddy boy. Too late, but it might.”
    Siren’s in the distance.
    “Time for me to go. Good luck explaining.”
    Armani steps out of the room.
    It’s just me and Fiona.

    250 words
    @billmelaterplea

  3. Caleb Downey heard the sound and turned to see Edwin Howard’s head flung backwards and his body sag to drape the ground like a sack of rags. He felt the spatter of Ed’s memories on his face.

    “I didn’t sign up for this,” Caleb said, knowing the men to either side of him in the Union line couldn’t hear him. Just like they never heard the .50 caliber slugs from Rebel Enfields come fetch them to Jesus. Wide-eyed, Caleb crawled back from the makeshift breastworks of a rotten hickory as more Reb bullets chopped it to tinder, let alone kindling.

    “Where’re you going, Downey?” he heard Captain Mayfield yell, the flat of his sword spanking Caleb like his Pa would with a switch back in Indiana. “You get back to your position and hold this line with your squad.”

    “Cap’n, I ain’t got no more squad. The last of ‘em, ‘cept for me, just lost the top of his head not three feet from my own.”

    “You mean…”

    “Yessir. All dead.”

    “…you completely abandoned that position?”

    “Only of the living, sir.”

    “You get back up there and hold that post while I find some men to fill in the line.”

    “I don’t think so, Cap’n.”

    “What? Think of what you’re fighting for, boy. Think of the Union, Indiana, think of your family,” Mayfield said.

    “I am. The feller to my right was my cousin Edwin. On the left was my brother, Charles. We never signed up for that, either.”

    @JAHesch
    250 words

  4. He shouldered his rifle. The night-scope’s view showed a single figure, a field of sick green framing its silhouette. Collins’ finger tightened onto the trigger. He let his breath leak away, then held it, waiting for his pulse to slow.

    “Incoming.”

    The voice in his ear stayed his shot. He took a slow sip of the air in his eyrie, relaxing the muscles in his chest.

    “Collins,” he said, mouthing the two syllables. The half-mask he wore covered his lips, shielding them from line-of-sight surveillance. His communications were secure, the signal in his headset scrambled by a quantum processor. “Standing by.”

    A second figure joined the first, the voices of the two men insinuating themselves into his ear.

    “All quiet?” The newcomer was the one who spoke. His accent bled through the simul-translation, his vowels flattened and guttural. He possessed an air of authority, his movements easy and filled with confidence.

    “As silent as the grave.” The original target shrugged his sleeve away from his wrist, studying the timepiece he was wearing. “It’s another hour I’ve wasted. Getting colder every minute. I didn’t sign up for this. I expected I’d be a drone operator, sitting in a bunker, a can of soda in my hand. Instead, I’m here, standing in Siberia. Freezing from my feet upwards.” He stepped backwards, momentarily disappearing behind the shape of his officer.

    The shot punched through the air, travelling the quarter-mile in less than a heartbeat. Both men fell to the ground and lay motionless.

    250 words ~ twothirdsrasta.blogspot.com

  5. Even in this crowd of revelers Honesty shouldn’t have been able to walk up behind Anton Bragg unnoticed. Alert for any reflex by the surly sheriff, the librarian in the yellow wool dress cleared her throat courteously.

    “Did you speak with Lady Estienne?”

    Sheriff Bragg started, though the reined reaction would have gone unobserved if Honesty hadn’t anticipated it. He was not pleased to see her, his eyes blazing with blame.

    “I did.”

    Honesty took his arm and guided him toward a row of carnival barkers.

    “You didn’t find what you wanted?”

    “I didn’t.”

    “Sign up for this,” Honesty slid a dunk tank schedule to the sour sheriff. “I do know who your cat burglar was.”

    Bragg actually growled at her! Honesty dropped her face into her left hand to compose herself before continuing.

    “I’ve done some reading. I don’t know how to find Black Rose, but she and her adversary tend to show up wherever Lady Estienne goes. I thought she might know something.”

    “Adversary? You mean that over shiny knight?”

    “You saw Silver Mask?!” Honesty couldn’t contain her wide-eyed enthusiasm. “What was he like?”

    “Oh come on! They’re all you, aren’t they?”

    Doubt tinged Bragg’s flat accusation, but it was still enough to sober his suspect.

    “That’s ridiculous!” She scoffed.

    Another growl rumbled from the put-upon lawman.

    “Why the dunk tank?”

    “Black Rose is infamously adept with throwing implements; I thought we might watch for an unfamiliar woman with a good arm and contempt for the law.”

    249 words
    @DavidALudwig

  6. “What about the others?” Martell balked as she pulled him back in to the hallway. “We can’t just leave them to be shot by these…these terrorists.”

    “Dr. Martell—”

    “No, I didn’t sign up for this, but I’ll be damned before I let my coworkers get killed because these miscreants are after me.”

    He turned to head back to the lab when a door ahead of them opened. Hermione grabbed the doc and whirled him through another door, pushing him down as she closed it with a soft click. Avery and another man stopped beside their door, talking in urgent voices.

    “Where the hell is Dr. Martell?”

    “I dunno, Max. The security guy messaged us that he came in, but no one’s seen ’im since the explosion.”

    “It’s not like he’s adventurous or a goddamn superhero. He’s a geek, and the key to our plan. We need to find him.”

    Hermione shot Martell a surprised look before she reached up and turned the lock on the door, hoping the men outside wouldn’t notice. Then she braced her body against it and put her finger over her lips. He swallowed hard and nodded.

    “Have we searched the whole facility?” Avery’s shadow filled the crack under the door and the knob rattled.

    “Not yet, boss. But there was another couple of labs down there that were blocked off by debris. We haven’t been able to get to them yet.”

    “Well get to them. And find Dr. Martell!”

    245 ineligible #WIP365 words
    @SiobhanMuir

  7. “She’s dead! We have to call the authorities.”
    “You’re an idiot who do you think will be blamed for this?”
    “We weren’t here when Sidonnie died.”
    “But we hated Michelle and everyone knows it. Do you think we weren’t set up for this? We need to scrub any trace of ourselves and exit.”
    “Who would have set us up?”
    “Edelène, why did we come here?”
    “Because Sidonnie called to us.”
    “Did she? Edelène we have to leave now!” Nic’lesse responded, “The creatures surround the building.”
    “So it was a trap?”
    “But you are stronger are you not?”
    I opened a threshold and we stepped through the portal into our realm. The center of the gateway is closing, but not fast enough, one of them has followed us through. He stands his hand raised high as if to strike me dead. Nic’lesse says a few words and the warlock falters but I am stronger and whisper words that make him shudder in dread. He falls to the ground and shrivels a little becoming an old man. He turns to me wipes a tear and says, “I forgive you.” and then I sent banished him home.
    “He would have killed you and yet you showed him mercy, why Edelène?” Nic’lesse asked me.
    “Because I once loved him and forgiveness is better than hate.”

    An uproarious sound filled the air and my people cheered my return.

    “Our kingdom is safe yet again my queen.”
    “With you by my side all things are possible.”
    @SweetSheil
    250 words

  8. “Dr. Mackenzie.” Malcolm Lee, Patient Advocate up My Ass, represented the Kim family with a subservient veneer that made me want to shower. “You’ve fucked up, Doc. HR is backing me up.”

    “I saved a boy’s life, Malcom. Do you have any idea how gross you are when you invoke HR?” I shuddered. Exaggerated maybe, but— “I’ve stepped in less offensive shits than you.”

    “I didn’t sign up for this,” Lee muttered. Then, “You know his father signed off on the DNR.”

    “I do.” The heat was coming for me over that one. Ignoring the do not resuscitate was going to cost me my job, at the very least. Watch me not fucking care and go find a job that didn’t spit on the very lives we were meant to save. “But how are they not over the goddamned moon that their son is alive?”

    “The family wants to know if you’re taking responsibility.”

    “What?” I frowned.

    “The boy is trouble.” Malcolm shrugged. Winced. “But they are willing to let him be your trouble.”

    I read through the contract he handed me. Twice. Then called Dad and read him the contract. Let the Kims drown in those billable hours. Satisfied the agreement was sound, I signed my name and initialed in five bajillion places.

    “No takebacks, Mr. Lee. They made no allowances for parental decency and regret, so Kim Taewoon is mine now.” I handed the contract over. “But don’t worry. I’ll make sure he’s happy to live this time.”

    @caramichaels
    250 #TeamRPG words

  9. Bysen paced the room, pretty sure she was carving a path in the carpet. On the bed, her brother continued to sleep, but not even the sounds of his snores could drown out the thoughts driving her up the wall.

    How could she not have realized that his pending nuptials meant she’d be inheriting his role as head of the family? Why didn’t he think to mention it sooner?

    Why hadn’t their uncle mentioned it?

    “I didn’t sign up for this.” Her brother couldn’t hear her, but she couldn’t keep quiet. “You’re supposed to be in charge, Canaan. Not me.”

    But talking to him was no use. She knew there was nothing she could do about the situation except try to find an antidote for the poison.

    First things first. Make him better. Then I can kill him for keeping secrets.

    141 WIP words
    @katheryn_avila

  10. Sitting atop the white and green Sinclair sign at the local gas station, I sigh. I should be home with Dad and my brothers, planning the funeral. The problem with being a Deather is that you cross souls to their afterlife but can’t visit them.

    I signed up for the Deather part; I didn’t sign up for this…overwhelming grief. Knowing that Mom’s with her parents. Meeting her baby brother who died at three days old. I got to hold her hand as she walked across. Imagine how shocked Mom was when she found out what I did for a living.

    “I thought I might find you up here.”

    Floral perfume assaults my sinuses and I sneeze. Petunia hugs me and I lean into the softness of her pink sweater. It’s cold tonight, even for February in Northern Iowa. Petunia hands me a white hankie with a pink boarder and flowers sewn into the one corner.

    “I needed some air.”

    “What hurts most?” Petunia asks, her British accent light tonight.

    “I don’t know. She only fought for two weeks. I can’t visit her in the afterlife.”

    “I know, love, I know. Not being able to see my Rafe is hard, even after all these years. Although he has managed to slip through a note here and there. And we can get a note to your mum now and then.”

    My phone buzzes and I sigh; time to get back. Petunia gives me one more hug. There are decisions to be made.

    @Aightball
    250 words

  11. Destination Unknown.

    Mac spat on the ground as he swore. Looking at the wreckage I could see why— the ship had been scythed in half. Acid had eaten through the cowling and at least half the electronics.

    “What the hell did Dancer do to this thing?”

    “She landed on 0213-78,” I answered as I pulled out the bucket and mopped up after Mac. I’d learned a long time ago that his spit tended to leave stains on the deck plating, and it was easier to clean up before it had a chance to set.

    “What was it?”

    “Class 2 planet, low atmo – possibly good for raw materials. He didn’t want to be used.”

    “It didn’t want?”

    “Yeah, sentient planet – said it didn’t want to be cut up for parts then did a number on the ship. Kept Dancer safe, out of respect and because he didn’t want to start a war.”

    “He? Goddamned planet ‘an y’re calling it ‘He’”

    “That was what the planet said,” I pointed out. I tend not to argue with large inanimate objects— Call it superstition – don’t provoke the place where you’re landing, especially when they can split a fuselage in half without blinking.

    “Shit,” he growled spitting on the floor again, his smile daring me to say anything. “I didn’t sign up for this.”

    I didn’t have the heart to tell him he had— or maybe it was just common sense finally kicking in. I mopped up and made myself scarce. It was safer that way.

    250 words (not including title)
    @mishmhem

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