Welcome back to the home of Weird, Wild, & Wicked Tales. Today is Thursday and that means it’s time to start flashing. We’re almost to the end of our eighth year of weekly prompts! This is Week 411 of #ThursThreads, the challenge that ties tales together, and we’re ready for your 411. 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 411:
Dark fantasy author, archer, and horsewoman, Daelyn Morgana.
And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
“Do I know you?”
All stories written herein are the property (both intellectual and physical) of the authors. Comments do not represent the views of the host and the host reserves the right to remove any content. Now, away with you, Flash Fiction Fanatics, and show us your #ThursThreads. Good luck!
17 Replies to “#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 411”
A dark place, 248 words, by Terry Brewer, @stories2121
It was a dark and somewhat dingy place, but I grew comfortable there. The bartender knew me and knew I liked Johnnie Walker Black on the rocks, and it would be sweating on the bar when I sat. Maybe I was too comfortable there. I discovered it about three weeks after my company exiled me to Portland. The one in Maine. Not the fashionable one in Oregon.
It was a six-month gig. I was in month four. My apartment, in a newish tower on the edge of downtown, was paid. I drove my own car up from Philly. Every few months I flew home to see my folks, but in truth I hadn’t left much behind there, and Portland, Maine was as good a place as any for me to get my life in order.
So what are the odds, as the man said in the movie, of her walking into a joint like this on a Thursday evening in early February?
There was no doubt it was her. She was alone, but still had the same glow that attracted me (and most of our class, male and female) at Penn. We spoke a few times then, but I hadn’t come out and I wouldn’t have had the nerve to ask her out in any case. Not then.
She was alone, as I say. At one of the tables near the bar.
I picked up my scotch and tapped her shoulder. She looked up.
“Do I know you?”
“Try it again. But take it slow.”
The ball of light returned, searing first one eye then the other. I had kept my eyes closed, remembering the pain from the first attempt. This time it was better; the whorls and blotches were less lurid, the stabbing and wrenching only a five out of ten.
“It’s still bright,” I said. “Can you do something about that?”
The torch clicked off again, and the room darkened. I chanced a quick glimpse. The woman was still there, fitting a hood to her instrument. I could hear her breathing; slow, calm breaths with nothing to suggest any concern.
“Try this.” The spotlight returned, but this time it was more diffuse. I still shrugged away; there was nothing that would have stopped me doing that, only this time I resisted it, turning my face back to the light.
“Your husband will have to wear glasses,” she said, addressing the third person in the room. “Something with a darkened lens. The dispensary will be able to provide you with what you’ll need. I’m afraid it’ll be permanent; he’s lucky to be back at all, and his rehabilitation will take time.”
The other woman came closer, standing behind the doctor. Her face was blurred, and there was something awry with her complexion.
“You’re not my William,” she said, gazing through me, looking for someone else. “I know what the doctor said, but you’re not him. Now, tell me who you are – do I know you?”
250 words ~ twothirdsrasta.blogspot.com
Dis Guys the Other
It may have been the hair? Or the beard? Whatever it was, the schmuck was looking as ragged as a string mop.
And nothin’ like his picture.
I mean, I don’t mind making the odd mistake, a little errant boo-boo, some useless innocent blood drawn. That’s part of the equation. Life and death are messy.
No, what it was…I hate wasting my time plucking a tune that don’t need to be plucked.
So, I checked.
Checking ain’t easy in my trade.
First off, there’s the fixer.
Yeah, I know. Sounds romantic, don’t it.
It is, kinda.
I’m a bit like cupid.
Pull back on the string.
Let the arrow fly.
On the money every time.
Right. Where was I?
He knows me.
And, in his favour, Harold knows how to reach the consignor.
He, or she, is the one paying the freight.
I’m the freight.
The consignee. Yeah, that’s me.
Worth every penny, I am.
And more, the way I figure,
So, I gotta deliver.
Harold texts back; Yeah, he’s a big fat furball, now.
Except, these are Covidian-19 days, eh!
Barber shops are silent.
Hairy-faced mutts everywhere.
So, I gotta do it cheek to cheek.
Eyeball to eyeball.
I walk up to the mark, ask, “Do I know you?”
He growls, “Six feet, buster!”
At that point, I’m past caring if he’s the target.
Sometimes, you just react.
I punch his shaggy ticket.
Man, that felt good.
Antiseptic, sharp in my nose. Rubber soles whispering on linoleum. Steady breathing. Warm fingers laced through mine. Two things I knew—I was in a hospital and Wizard was there. I blinked and my vision filled with a man wearing worry across his skin.
“Jodie.” He breathed my name like it was the answer to a prayer. Maybe it was. I’d survived.
Fingertips brushed a strand of hair off my cheek then warm lips pressed against my scar. Why did he do that? To remind me they were there? To say he remembered and didn’t care? I didn’t want to ask. The fact he was here meant everything so I didn’t need to question him. He protective strength beside me was enough.
“Had me worried, babe. You been out a long time.”
The door creaked open and our eyes redirected to the giant man standing there. “She’s awake.”
It wasn’t a question but Wizard agreed. “Yes.”
“I’ll tell the brothers and the old ladies.”
What did they have to talk about that couldn’t be said in front of me? Time for payback. I couldn’t resist teasing him.
“Do I know you?”
I burst out laughing at the shocked—and appalled—look on his face. He growled, eyes flashing feral red. Oops. I knew better than to tease the beast lurking beneath his skin.
Tugging his hand so he’d lean closer, I stretched up and kissed him. “I love you.”
“Damn straight you do.”
250 Nightrider MC short story WIP ords
A shadow detached from the wall and fell into step behind Noah. The urge to freak right the fuck out backed up in his throat as his pace stuttered. Stopped. Fight? Or flight? He turned to the presence flanking him, the lights falling on a startlingly attractive face. On the royal crest embroidered on the black blazer. The discreetly obvious earphone in one ear. Every dark hair in place, uniform neatly pressed.
No monster or mystery attacker.
Rather a man, slighter and shorter than Noah, dressed as palace security. He didn’t look like he could offer much protection, really.
“Do I…know you?” Noah kept his chin up, hoping he didn’t look as out of place here as he felt, knowing that was probably a lost cause.
“No, Highness.” The voice rumbling from the small man was surprisingly deep and gruff. The kind of voice that exercised by chewing rocks and yelling at kids to get off the royal lawns, probably.
“Um—” Highness. Right. That…was a thing now. “Should I?”
A barely-there smile made Noah’s heart thump, heavy and insistent.
“Only if you want to, Highness.” Dark, feline eyes met his, an unexpected sadness in them plain to see. “Otherwise, just remember my face as one of the good guys.”
“Are there a lot of…not-so-good guys to worry about?”
“You were seventeenth in line to the throne until yesterday, Highness.” The man winced. “There was probably a more tactful answer to that.”
“Yeah.” Noah swallowed hard, mouth desert dry. “Probably.”
250 royal WIP words
“I got something for you.”
I glanced up from the small meal I’d procured in mostly honest ways to find Matsuko holding out a package wrapped in brown butcher paper and tied artfully with twine. A small glass crystal flashed in the sunlight.
“What’s this?” I took the package, no bigger than a pastry box, and turned it over.
She shrugged. “It’s for you. Open it.”
I still hesitated. There was an old wives’ tale among my people that said if someone gave a dragon a gift of the heart, the dragon would be bound to that person for all of their lives. I’d scoffed at the idea, but the old superstitions held strong in the back of my mind.
“Come on, open it. I promise it won’t bite.”
I snorted and untied the twine, carefully setting the crystal in my lap as I tore the paper free. What would Matsuko offer me that I couldn’t simply steal?
The answer became very clear as I pulled the egg-shaped object out of a nest of packing grass. The orb fluctuated with the dance of the flower in the center.
“A fire flower.” I breathed the words in awe before raising my gaze to her. “Where did you get such a treasure?”
“Do I know you or what?” She beamed. “The vendor’s daughter is hard-of-hearing, so I taught them some things in Sign Language so they could communicate better. Do you like it?”
The superstitions are right. “I will treasure it always.”
250 ineligible #TeamRPG words
I tiptoed into my wife’s room. I gently woke her and she screamed.
“It’s okay. You just a bad dream,” I said softly
“Do I know you?”
“That isn’t funny Cherise.”
Cherise began screaming after calmed her down singing her song, You’ll never walk alone She seemed to see me differently and then she said, “You’re my husband and I’m Cherise. I love you, Howard.”
Worried I insisted she visit the family doctor who sent her for tests. The next day the bad news revealed, she had an inoperable brain tumour in her memory centre. She might sometimes remember me; but soon even that would disappear too and so would she.
I made a scrap book for her with words and pictures of our life and gave it to her. I’d sing her song to her and tell her how much I loved her. Then one day in a lucid state she said to me, “My mind is going Howard I feel it every day. If it gets much worse put me out of my misery.”
“I can’t,” I insisted.
“If you love me you’ll do this,” Cherise insisted.
I put the pills in her tea and gave it to her and sang to her as her last gasps took her breath. Then I told her, “Don’t worry I’ve drank some tea too I’m coming my love.”
It’s happening; I see her and she takes my hand and we sing as we step into the light, “You’ll never walk alone.”
The hairs on the back of Quinn’s neck stood up when she saw the poster hanging on the wall outside the entrance to the saloon. It was that, more than the faded portrait that alerted her to who the face belonged to. Even so, she squinted her eyes and cocked her head to one side, trying to make out the features of the familiar face.
“Hey, Quinn, isn’t that-”
“Jimmy? Yeah, Tommy, it is.”
“Dang! They’re offering fifteen hundred dollars for him. Dead or alive.”
Quinn nodded. She’d noticed the reward.
As she sat with Tommy drinking her soda water, Quinn couldn’t stop thinking about the poster and the reward money.
“I think I could find him, Tommy.”
Tommy almost fell off his stool. “Jimmy? Why’d you want to do that?”
Quinn cast Tommy a derisive look. “He tried to kill me. Or don’t you remember?”
“But, you know there’s gonna be loads of bounty hunters after him.”
“Yeah, but they don’t know him like I do.”
“I know you want to see your brother punished for what he did to you, but dead?”
Quinn shook her head. “My brother died the day that monster came after me with an axe. Jimmy killed him that day as sure as he tried to kill me.”
Slapping her payment on the bar and walking towards the door, Quinn paused at the entrance and threw Tommy a smile over her shoulder.
“Are you coming or not?”
I recognized her the moment my eyes spotted her. How could I ever forget her? She had triggered the greatest set of changes in my life. I had been normal. Thirty years of a career, depended on, recognized for my talents. Life was calm and quiet. Then she showed up, and it all came apart.
“Sweet Jesus!” was my first thought, followed by “I should not have come here.”
I noticed a hint of recognition on her face when she spotted me. At that point, I knew it was time to deal with the last vestiges of what had been. To finally end her story in my life.
It had been ten years. I’d had to start life over in so many ways. New job, new friends, new everything. Years of psychotherapy and multiple day panic attacks, wondering if I’d ever recover, if I’d ever become functional in life again.
She had known me before all that, when I was the guy with the 30 year career, and a knack for fixing problems in everyone else’s programs.
I wasn’t that guy anymore. I’d never be that guy again.
Eventually she made her way over, “Do I know you?”
“Yes, Robin, you do.”
I nodded, “You knew who I was 10 years ago. You don’t know me now.”
She smiled that smile that had wrecked so much havoc in my life. “Perhaps, finally, it’s time to meet you again.”
All I could think was, “Frack…”
The private perimeter tables were either occupied or reserved for more important guests. Jasna Saifullah got a public table to herself since it was early and saw no reason to spoil her day off by drawing attention to her identity. Without her uniform she was just another insignificant human to the giants. Even the soldiers at the next public table over hadn’t noticed her.
She savored the aroma and warmth of her tea before sipping slowly. It had been a long, and apparently eventful, winter. The intelligence community was still abuzz sorting truth from sensationalism. Jasna didn’t agree with her counterpart in The Great Navy on much, but the war being on hiatus—not over—was high on that list.
“May I sit?”
Another human, his face and figure obscured by his white traveling cloak indicated the place next to Jasna with a black leather gloved hand. Giants dismissing all humans as the same didn’t bother Jasna much. It even suited her occasionally. Other humans assuming they could talk to her was more annoying.
“Do I know you?”
The man sat unbidden and lowered his voice, though his demeanor remained relaxed.
“I think everyone in your country knows The Butcher of Valle Rossa. Admiral.”
Jasna gripped her jambiya hilt. A quick quiet resolution could preserve her afternoon peace. The man laid his diamond headed cane across his lap and tapped it meaningfully.
“I wouldn’t. We have a common enemy.”
Jasna narrowed her eyes, calculating her options.
“Cat N. Kinnery.”
250 Cat’s The Pajamas words
The sign read, “Meet pop star Everest McGee, today at 3pm.”
“Do I know you?” She said distractedly.
My heart fell.
Should I say that she lived next door growing up?
Remind her that we were best friends by the age of 3?
Tell the story of how she knocked Edgar, the block bully, off his bike with a baseball bat because he was chasing me?
I had thought that she could not have forgotten me.
I had not forgotten her.
“It’s just an autograph line?” she said, Seriously, do I know you?”
Do I remind her of the day I ‘accidentally’ spilled bleach on Maggie’s prom dress because Maggie was making fun of her?
Point out all of the times I covered for her? When I told her mom she was at the movies with me, when she really was out partying with her idiot boyfriend, Roger?
Remind her how I held her, and let her cry on my shoulder, when Roger dumped her because she wouldn’t sleep with him?
“Do… I… know… you?” Her voice was angry.
Do I tell everyone that Everest was my dog’s name?
That we grew up on McGee Court?
That I have not kissed anyone since she kissed goodbye?
That I loved her then, and I love her still?
“No Manda, you don’t. Sorry for bothering you.”
I walked away.
I heard her call, “Nat, wait…Nat-Nat, please wait, I do remember.”
I smiled through my tears, and kept walking.
Mind if I play through?
It’s like stepping into cat 5 rapids without a raft. It roars around you buffeting you and driving you to your knees until you want to cry out, enough!. Following the flow downstream is easier, but there are currents and eddies you can follow back up the time stream – those are trickier and don’t always have the results you want.
Easier to escape into the future than to backtrack upstream into the past. Past, future, up down— they’re all names for the directions of the flow, but they don’t do it justice. Time pools in small stagnant moments that you wish would end only to have everything wash past you when you weren’t looking.
Time stream is a misnomer. Time tsunami is more like it. There is little to no control where or when you show up, you just step in and stay there until you just can’t take it anymore. I’d been caught in one of those moments until I was chilled to the bone and when I tried to get out, I found myself looking into my wife’s eyes… ten years ago.
“Do I know you?”
I smiled and then looked at my watch. “Not yet… but you will.”
I backed away just as a yell of “Watch out!” and a Frisbee all but hit the woman of my dreams. “You’ll laugh about this someday,” I confounded in her just before a much younger me came into the clearing looking for his Frisbee.
248 words (not including title)
Work sucked balls last night and I’m not in the mood for nosy old bitties. It’s the joys of small-town Iowa life: everyone knows everyone’s business.
I nod to an old high school classmate as she stocks the bakery case with donuts. I order two cream filled maple long johns and start shopping. Halfway down the bread aisle, I realize a woman with short brown hair is following me.
“Can I help you?” I ask, putting a loaf of honey wheat bread in my cart.
“Do I know you?”
I’m not usually so forward but I’m tired. The woman fidgets, shifting from foot to foot. I push my cart forward and the nervous woman follows.
“You helped my husband cross over last week.”
When she runs, I follow and block her in near the apples.
“How did you see me?”
“I-I see things. Ghosts and such.”
Clairvoyants aren’t real. Only people with powers bestowed on them by Death can do that. The woman has edged around me and we make for the vegetables.
She shrugs, squeezing a tomato. “I’ve seen stuff since I was a kid.”
“I need to know more. Can you meet me tonight?”
“Meet me tonight. At the county building out by the casino. It’s where I work.”
“Good. Seven tonight. I need to know what’s going on.”
I write down the address and walk away. If she’s a true clairvoyant, we’ve got problems.
“If it isn’t the great God of the Underworld.”
Hades stopped in his tracks at the unfamiliar dark voice and turned around in the stone hall. The man that meet his gaze stood shrouded in the in-between shadows of fire burning torches. He wasn’t a spirit, that much was for certain. “Excuse me? Do I know you?”
“No. You wouldn’t.”
He said it with such surety that Hades bristled, flashing a patronizing smile. “Then dare I say you’re trespassing in my realm, and in my castle. Most, man and god alike, are much wiser.”
A sneer graced his reply. “Watch your misguided threats, Hades, you don’t know who you’re speaking to.”
“Then enlighten me. Who am I speaking to, so obviously trespassing as it were?” In the dimness he tried to make out the features of this intruder but between the shadows and the dark cloak he wore it was near impossible.
“I hear, for the first time in eons, you are consulting with the Fates to restore life to a dead mortal. Is this true?”
Where in the gods did he hear that? “What’s it to you if I am?”
“Absolutely nothing. Just a fair warning, however, you are playing with powers far greater than you can comprehend this time, even for a god. I would bow out of this one if I were you.”
“Why?” Hades growled. “What threat is there?”
“Don’t question. Just do.”
237 INELIGIBLE #CampNaNo #Embermyst words
#ThursThreads Week 411 is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope to catch you next week.
“Give unto Odin what is Odin’s.” Out of the corner of my eyes, I saw the edges of light, but when I turned my head, nothing was there. But these words were not words anyone wished to hear. Odin was not only one of wisdom, but a god of war, of death.
“Do I know you?” It was the first thing that came to mind. I stared down at my scarred hands, my injured body. But my mind was sharp, although conventional wisdom rested outside of my grasp.
He did not laugh at my retort. “Have you not summoned me?”
“I don’t know who you are.”
“Tonight you shall learn.”
I felt a hand raise me up from my chair and toss me back on the wooden floor. Energy rippled all over me; power coursed through my body, and staring up I rested at the feet of Odin. But old man he was not. Brawny, bold and irritated, he held out his hand. “Your purpose waits with me, witch. Now rise, for magic awaits us.”
“And what will you have me do?”
“A Valkyrie shall rise.”
His words gave me strength, and as I took his offered hands, one wing then two spouted.
I’d quested for purpose and he’d made me a harvester of the dead.
250 Words. Wip. @TinaGlasneck #ValkyrieRising