#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 399

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 399 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 399:

Katheryn J Avila

Programmer by day, writer by night, Katheryn J. Avila.

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads |

And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.

The Prompt:

“He didn’t want to be used.”

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!

12 Replies to “#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 399”

  1. Spiffy

    “There’s no family.” The Aide says. “Your name was the only one we had.”

    As I listen, I glance down at Louis.

    Inches away from the big shank.

    Oblivion.

    I was the best he could do.

    A bar buddy.

    A fairly new bar buddy.

    “We called him “Spiffy” at the Tavern”, I tell her. “He was a slick looking dude in his youth.”

    She nods, looks like she’s having a hard time imagining his slick dudery.

    “He hasn’t much time. We think he can still hear you if you want to say your goodbyes.”

    Goodbyes, I think. We’ve done that already. But I also think I need to explain him to her. I don’t know why, though. We’re just going through the motions.

    Still.

    “He was a handsome fellow, old Louis was. Never married. Never got too close to anyone. Handsome to a fault, I suppose.” As I venture into my soliloquy, I pull out a picture Louis once gave me of him in his prime.

    I show her.

    “A beauty,” she says just a tad scornfully.

    “His undoing, I’m afraid. His handsomeness kept him apart. He didn’t want to be used. Used in any way. People use other people’s beauty.”

    I am not expressing his magnificent torture to her very well.

    “I have other duties,” she announces.

    “Of course.”

    She leaves.

    I smile.

    “This one’s for you, Louis. Your favourite,” and I start singing, “I’m just a gigolo and everywhere I go People know the part I’m playing…”

    250 words
    @billmelaterplea

  2. Hope stood by the balcony, gaze on the misty river below. The rising sun cast her in a halo of muted gold and pink, and his heart ached. His body wanted.

    “It’s okay, you know.” Hope cradled a cup of coffee in her hands, sipping as she turned, soft eyes steady on him. “If there’s something you want, just ask.”

    “And if I want you?”

    She set her mug down, lips curling up.

    “Do you think I’ll say no?” she mused. “Barring certain hard limits, I’m fairly comfortable with a provisional yes as my answer.”

    For almost a week straight, the morning had given him Hope. He was starting to believe she’d be with him every morning, and that was dangerous. Maybe he needed to go. Maybe he didn’t want to be used to this. The friendship. The comfort. The belonging. The attraction. They overwhelmed him, filling his empty soul. They surrounded him, tempting him to believe. To trust.

    When it all left him, he’d be right back to where he started.

    The freak in the shadows.

    But he’d be so much lonelier knowing for sure what was he missing.

    “I’m not going anywhere, love,” Hope said.

    “Reading minds is my superpower.”

    “I’m not reading your mind.” She chuckled, stepping closer. “Your fight-or-flight body language is telling me your worries.”

    Her soft sigh teased his lips as she leaned in.

    “I mean to keep you in my life, Taye.”

    She tasted of coffee and cream, and he drank her deep.

    @caramichaels
    250 superhero WIP words

  3. “What are you doing here, Haley?”

    She grimaced as she sat down across from me. “I came to tell you Sam’s not coming. He’s stuck in something but he didn’t want to—”

    “Be used by some pathetic hanger-on? I get it. I’m just a charity case to him and the rest of the Concrete Angels.

    “I was gonna say, leave you hanging. He asked me to make sure you knew he wasn’t avoiding you, he’s just been really busy.”

    Anger surged through my chest and I scowled. “Bullshit. That’s the classic excuse of deliberately avoiding someone. If he wasn’t avoiding me, why the hell hasn’t he called, texted, or come himself?”

    Haley gave me a one-shouldered shrug as she frowned. “I don’t know, but it does seem weird. How long has that been going on?”

    I sighed as I tried to rein in my frustration. “About a month now. Ever since I told him I loved him.” I turned my head to hide the tears threatening to overspill my eyes. “Fuck, it’s just like before, Haley. Except, instead of always wanting me to cater to him, fawn over him, Sam doesn’t want my love at all.”

    “I don’t think that’s true. There’s probably another reason he’s holding back.”

    My fury and frustration rose again and I shoved the chair back. “You don’t hold back with someone you care about. If you see Sam, tell him face his own problems, don’t send a fuckin’ messenger.” I turned and stomped out.

    250 ineligible #ConcreteAngelsMC words
    @SiobhanMuir

  4. “Where is Xavier?”

    The man behind the desk glowered at me and dude, he had a mean glower. I know glowers. My father was a champ. Inhaling slowly, I raised my gaze to meet his. Eyes so brown they looked like frozen chunks of espresso coffee stared into mine. Involuntarily, I swallowed. Hard. This guy was not my father. Nope. This guy was ten times worse and I’d be smart to remember that.

    He quirked a brow, still awaiting my answer. I swallowed again when I realized so much saliva had pooled in my mouth that I’d drool if I spoke.

    “I’ll ask something simpler, since you seem unable to answer that question. Why are you here?”

    Those were good questions. I was here because I had no choice. Now my mouth and throat were so dry I coughed a little to make things worked. Words finally tumbled out. “He didn’t want to be used.”

    Something flickered in his eyes—guilt? Regret? Whatever the emotion was, it emboldened me. “He’s not a punching bag. Or a target. He’s not a scapegoat, either.”

    “True. He is none of those things.” He steepled his hands and tapped his fingertips together. “But if he does not return what he took, he will become all of those things.”

    “I’ll see what I can do.”

    “You do that.”

    There it was. Threat and promise all rolled into one. If the Russian mob didn’t do it first, I was going to kill my kid brother.
    ****
    250 Moonstruck Mob words
    @SilverJames_

  5. The windscreen wipers described twin arcs across the screen. It was still snowing. The heat inside the car had drained away hours ago. He was running the engine sparingly, using it as much to keep the battery charged as he was using it for their comfort. They’d no idea how long they were going to be stranded here; somebody had to make the decisions which would keep them alive.

    “The sky’s still full of it,” she said. “It could carry on for days.”

    Audrina was on the back seat. She’d been quick to claim the blanket. He doubted she’d feel much benefit from having it wrapped around her; the material no barrier to the heat she’d be losing. It would have made more sense for them to be laid together, spooning. He didn’t want to be used as her radiator, but she’d vetoed it immediately, shying away from him as soon as he’d suggested it.

    “Five more minutes,” he said, turning on the ignition. “If you give me your phone, I’ll plug it in for a charge. You never know, it might recover enough to make a call.”

    She scowled but handed it over. Her face was a dim oval in the gloom. The small talk they’d shared earlier had dwindled, much as the temperature had. The atmosphere had become icy in more than one way, each one blaming the other for the predicament they were in.

    If only they’d stopped at the motel earlier when they’d had the chance.

    250 seasonal words ~ twothirdsrasta.blogspot.com

  6. Caldwell Keller adjusted his white tuxedo before sitting in front of the dirty martini at the upscale bar. Swirling the drink with two fingered finesse he savored its botanical bouquet. He toasted the proprietress.

    “You always have the good stuff, Melantha.”

    The fiery Greek behind the bar smiled sinfully. Maybe it had something to do with being a succubus, but she looked as alluring in her sharp pressed suit as any of her more creative costumes.

    “I’m sure you’ve heard about my new enterprise.”

    “Oh, yeah!” Caldwell took a healthy swig, holding it in his mouth then letting it burn its way down. “You’ve got the Agency on high alert. Aphrodite’s scared.”

    “She should be.”

    Melantha’s eyes burned hungrily. Caldwell shook his head and sipped his martini.

    “Glad I’m not in your heels. She’s been playing the good guy so far. Now? All bets are off.”

    “About that,” Melantha rested her voluptuous breasts on her arms on the bar in front of Caldwell. “I want you to support Biomass Delta against its current target.”

    Caldwell focused on his drink, though his demon shadow clawed its way up onto the bar to appreciate the seduction. Caldwell let his demon look, but he didn’t want to be used.

    “Forget it! I’m only talking to you because I’m Aphrodite’s best contractor. She won’t burn me for that.”

    “Don’t you even want to know who the target is?”

    “Nope.”

    “It’s Hazuki Akiyama. Your Agency friends were never there for you against her, were they?”

    250 Fantasy Fighter words
    @DavidALudwig

  7. Buzzing sounds indicate a lot of things: a plague of locusts, a dying laptop hard drive, a ballast in need of replacing, a new text with the latest talking point. If this buzzing is anything except the latest talking point, I’ll be happy. Being a presidential speech writer was meant to be fun but this is becoming downright ridiculous.

    Sighing, I flip my phone over and turn on the screen. Oh, well, a deal at my favorite restaurant is better than a talking point. I put it down and try to think of something clever to write into the blank document on my computer screen. Finally, I type He didn’t want to be used, then sit back. No, no I certainly don’t want to be used but here we are.

    Switching documents, I decide to work on the speech I’m avoiding. It’s my job to make President Matthews look good but it’s becoming increasingly harder with every passing day. So many people hate him that never see him behind the scenes. Abraham Matthews is first and foremost a Hollywood actor and that’s how everything is run. Frankly, all he does is warm the seat in the Oval Office; it’s the rest of us schmucks who run the actual government.

    I’m considering writing a memoir: How I Fooled an Entire Nation, by Melanie Reynolds. I probably shouldn’t be that obvious, eh? Anyway, I’m Melanie and this is, indeed, the story of how I fooled an entire nation.

    @Aightball
    245 words (WIP?)

  8. Valmong was perfectly content living on his own, moving about the world with only the responsibilities he put on himself. It was better this way, he told himself. Not that anyone ever sought him out for more than his skills, anyway. No one was tripping over themselves to befriend him.

    Sure, some were more enlightened than others, wouldn’t mind that he’s a tiefling, but Valmong had been scorned enough times as a child that he long ago stopped trying. But now, with his clothes approaching threadbare conditions, he didn’t have a choice but to make his way toward Swynton.

    Ugh. That damned place. Why didn’t I plan this better?

    “If it makes you feel better, your planning had nothing to do with it.” The soft words overtook his senses, and he froze. It wasn’t often the god reached out to him, but Tenebrin’s voice was unmistakable. 

    “What do you want?” Most people would think it a blessing to have a god watch over you, but Valmong had always considered Tenebrin’s voice more of a burden than anything else.

    “Is that any way to greet your patron?”

    Annoyed, Valmong simply bowed, head low. “How may I be of service?”

    “Much better.” He could hear the approval in Tenebrin’s voice. “There’s a bard – my sister’s, actually – in need of assistance. I’d like you to retrieve her for us.”

    He didn’t want to be used, but bit back his retort. Testing the god of strategy wasn’t wise. Instead, he responded, “As you wish.”

    250 ineligible #TeamRPG words
    @katheryn_avila

  9. I read the headlines and gasped.

    “He killed the man and framed the politicians!” Frank said coming into the room.
    “It wasn’t his fault; he didn’t want to be used,” I protested.
    “I’ve turned all the files over to the police and a reporter I trust.”
    “Why did you go to a reporter?”
    “I’ve seen how the rich and powerful try to leverage their way out of their crimes so I made sure the reporter had the information too so he couldn’t hide.”

    I shook my head I was sure he was innocent. A few months later a trial took place and Martin was acquitted as I knew he would be. Martin came home to me and we cut all ties to our once friend, Frank. Martin became the mayor. The first evidence came in the mail and I denied it. The second came addressed to me and I signed at the door. Martin had ordered the death of his rivals and siphoned money from the city coffers. I picked up the phone to call Frank, the reporter and the F.B. I. and just as I dialed I felt a bullet pierce my lung. Martin loomed over me and said, “It’s too bad you surprised a burglar who shot you. I’ll play the grieving mayor and they’ll believe me. I could shoot someone in broad daylight and they’d let me off. There’s a sucker born every minute.”

    As I lay dying I thought if only I had listened to Frank.

    250 words
    @SweetSheil

  10. Identity Contagion

    I knew something was going on, but it wasn’t until the aftermath that I pieced things together. He was Rodger; the same man who’d sworn he hated everything and everyone on board the ship, and he was actually smiling. It was downright creepy.

    Others from the landing team were just as off, but there was nothing we could put our fingers on. There was some token resistance to quarantine but nothing really overt— just that feeling that something was off. Like when your tea-totaling uncle pours himself a double bourbon, neat. Something completely normal, on someone else, but not on the team, and definitely not on Rodger.

    By the time anyone noticed it was almost too late. They waited until the nurse came in to get their vitals, and suddenly we were looking at a ruptured suite and a containment area that was no longer containing.

    Four of them moved in unison while Rodge was just a tad out of sync— that’s what saved us. He was an asshole through and through and given his own choice he would have screwed over the mission twelve ways to Sunday, but since that was what the entity wanted, he was dead set against it. If it had been all five of them, there would have been no stopping them but Rodger took two of them out the equation before turning the knife on himself.

    He wasn’t a monster, he definitely wasn’t a hero, he just didn’t want to be used.

    249 words, not including title
    @mishmhem

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