#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 418

Welcome back to the home of Weird, Wild, & Wicked Tales. Today is Thursday and that means it’s time to start flashing. We’re at the beginning of our ninth year of weekly prompts. It’s amazing we’ve gone this long! This is Week 418 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 418:

Luanne Bennett

Thrivin’ American Mutt, Reader with Honest Reviews, Luanne Bennett.

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And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.

The Prompt:

“You don’t have to do this.”

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!

18 Replies to “#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 418”

  1. Indira watched the procession of the Keeper at the third supplicant’s pagoda where the palace staff had been told to wait and her heart ached. Diana was well and truly lost to Indy. There was no way the many handlers and court overseers would allow them to have the closeness they shared in the Brightmare Aerie.

    I’ll just have to love her from afar.

    She didn’t think the truth could stink like so much brightmare shit.

    It was torture to wait for Diana but the Keeper had a bigger heart than anyone Indy had ever known and she couldn’t fault the crowds for wanting to know her. Still, pain lanced her heart while her life sank down an invisible waterfall. She fidgeted and bounced as the procession finally reached the third pagoda.

    Diana greeted everyone with a soft word as she walked with a little girl dressed in Two Moons House colors. Indy’s heart filled with longing for Diana’s hug and shrank with dread at her inevitable loss. Oh Goddess, help me.

    “Head Wrangler Indira, I’d like you to meet Jasmine of Two Moons House. She has some wisdom to share. Will you accompany us to our suite for a consult?”

    “This is most irregular, Keeper. There are many more dignitaries to meet.” The Regent blustered as his brows came down.

    “I’m aware, Lord Regent, but the Head Wrangler’s counsel is required.”

    “You don’t have to do this, Diana.”

    “I do and so do you. Come with me, Indy. Please?”

    250 ineligible #Rifts Words
    @SiobhanMuir

  2. Posting for Bill Engleson

    Delay Preacher

    “It’s the pits. I mean, serious pits.”

    “Yes Mr. President. But look on the bright side…you…”

    “THE BRIGHT SIDE? IF I CAN”T DO WHAT I WANT TO DO WHEN I WANT TO DO IT THERE IS NO BRIGHT SIDE.”

    “Of course not, Sir. My bad. Still, you appreciate the symbolism…Juneteenth…and, Sir, it might be better not to stomp so emphatically. The sound does carry.”

    “Right. And the old legs acting up. That ramp was a killer.”

    “Yes Sir. We‘ve indicated our displeasure t West Point officials. They’ve agreed to install an escalator next time…if there…”

    “IF?”

    “When you next officiate. But back to…”

    “You’re telling me there’s no way to rally on Friday?”

    “No, Sir. People have already begun lining up to attend Saturday. Think of it as delayed gratification.”

    “DELAYED GRATIFICATION? WHY WOULD ONE WANT TO? I LIKE MY GRATIFICATION WHENEVER I WANT.”

    “I understand. And believe me, Sir, I want nothing more than you to be gratified. When I advised you that you don’t have to do this rally on Friday, one of my thrusts was that not only will you make extra political points by respecting Juneteenth, you will keep your devotees panting in anticipation for a further twenty-four hours.”

    “Panting, eh!”

    “Salivating, Sir.”

    “And a further twenty-four hours from Tulsa?”

    “Yes, Sir. A good way to look at it.”

    “It’s a song.”

    “What is, Sir.”

    “Twenty-four Hours From Tulsa.”

    “I’m sure it is a fine song, Sir.”

    “I’m hungry…”

    “Cheeseburger in a jiffy, Sir.”

    250 words
    @billmelaterplea

  3. Posting for Stacy Bennett

    Tears blurred my vision as I stared at the two men kneeling in the dirt, hands bound, dark heads bowed. These were men I’d grown up with, men I loved. Especially Davyd. The guards hadn’t treated them well, but I had expected as much. My own arms sported unwarranted bruises.

    “Milady,” King Navandahr crooned, descending the steps of his litter slowly, majestically. Silvered silks whispered, curling around his brown limbs like sinuous, sensuous snakes. He oozed confidence. As well he might. My people were defeated. I was here to surrender.

    His bare chest gleamed darkly beneath the shifting silks. My heart clenched. He’d undoubtedly claim me for his own and this conqueror, not Davyd would share my bed.

    You are a queen, I chided myself and forced my eyes to meet Navandahr’s devil-pale, kohl-lined gaze.
    He gestured to the men. ”Blood demands blood, but I will let you decide which.” His smile was cruel as I gasped, looking back at the kneeling men, my heart breaking.

    Choose?

    I couldn’t.

    Davyd didn’t move, his eyes glassy and dull. But Garen’s head snapped up. “Choose me,” he demanded.

    Ah Garen, so brave, so selfless. I knew I would do as he asked. I loved Garen, but I loved Davyd more.
    We both did.

    “You don’t have to do this, “ I lied.

    “Don’t I?” he said, all the love he felt for Davyd shining in his face. But, it was a love Davyd didn’t share. “Just…make it quick.”

    Word count: 246
    @SBennettwrites

  4. “You don’t have to do this,” Lottie said as I was about to finish Landro in the alley.

    “After what he did to you?” I said. If Lottie wasn’t there, I’d have killed him already. But with her it was like having a good angel on both shoulders. She was my worst good influence.

    “I don’t want you do it.”

    “I don’t want you to either,” Landro said through lips I’d split five ways.

    “I don’t want you to get in trouble for something I…”

    “You didn’t do anything, Lottie. He’s a coward and needs killin’,” I said.

    “I didn’t mean it,” Landro said, a tear in his voice and a torrent streaming from what was visible of his left eye.

    I should’ve shot him when he came out of the bar, but I was walking Lottie home, still jumpy as a kitten.

    “Her thtockings showing, riding astraddle that plug with the missing shoe, giving me the eye. She was asking for it,” Landro said.

    I kicked him again. He was asking for it.

    “Ted, take me home. Please.”

    “All right. Landro, you’re lucky this girl’s more forgiving than any saint.”

    I guess my threat worked. Landro was gone in the morning. Never saw him again.

    Week later, some Buffalo Soldiers found a body about twenty miles from town. Said Apaches left him naked, face smashed in by a rifle butt, manhood tossed a patch of cactus. Two sets of tracks. Funny, one of them had but three shoes.

    @JAHesch
    249 vengeful words

  5. My eyes took in the scene with horror the man, I had fallen in love with was perched over a woman in the passageway draining life’s blood from her neck. With in seconds he had me in his grasp his long-pointed fangs inches from my neck.

    “You don’t have to do this, Kane. I won’t tell anyone about you.”
    “Your days are numbered.”
    “I thought you loved me.”
    “I dreamt of that future, but that was long ago and times changed.”
    “I love you.”
    “You love me? But I’m a vampire and I’m old.”
    “I fell in love with your soul, not your age.”

    Kane looked at me with that intensity that made my bones feel like jelly.
    “Are you trying to mesmerize me?”
    “Actually, no for some reason it never worked on you maybe that’s why you’ve always intrigued me. What am I to do with you?”
    “We could have eternity,” I offered.
    “You’d become on of the undead?”
    “As long as you promise me your forever.”
    “We can’t be married in a church.”
    “That’s what city hall is for after five when it’s dark.”
    “Let me make a couple of calls and we can marry tonight and tomorrow you become the undead.”
    “Talk about making me a proposal I can’t refuse.”
    “Then you accept?”
    “Yes, Kane I will marry you and become your undead wife.
    We were married at sunset and I was dead at sunrise, my new life had begun.
    @SweetSheil
    243 Words

  6. Luc Bergeron stared at his new neighbor. Perching precariously on the middle step which put her eye level with him, she held one platform sandal in her hand while standing on tippy-toes and the other shoe. Hence her unsteady balance.

    “I…” She lifted one delicate shoulder and gave him big eyes. “I think I killed him.” This last rushed out on a breath she’d likely been holding.

    Despite a nagging need to rub at the headache forming between his eyes, Luc put one foot on the bottom step.

    “Seriously. You don’t have to do this.”

    Yeah, he did. Hi, my-name-is-Sunflower-Magnolia-Bloomsbury, but-everyone-calls-me-Sunny because, you-know, I-am breezed into his life less than 24 hours ago. This girl was a walking disaster. She drove a smart car and wore filmy dresses covered with crazy designs or swirls of color. Luc was a cop. Well, technically, he was a senior investigator for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. His friends described him as tall, dark, and broody. Every strand of common sense in his body told him to run. Far, far away. But. He was a cop. And if Sunny had a dead body in her house, he needed to find out just what happened.

    She pointed at the front with the shoe in her hand and he glimpsed a smear of red on the sole. Crap.

    “He’s in the kitchen.”

    Luc found the victim—a rat. Good thing he hadn’t called this in.
    ****
    250 new #WIP words
    @SilverJames_

  7. The breeze blew cool across my cheek, whipping my hair into my eyes. I leaned my head back, drinking in the freedom the wind brought with it. In the distance, the sound of music and laughter drifted to me. Below me, water sloshed against the cliff.

    A group of pre-pubescent girls ran up the path and leapt with arms outstretched. My heartbeat quickened as I watched them fall with a splash to the water below.

    “Are you gonna do it?”

    The voice cut through my thoughts and I turned my eyes toward it. I looked into a smiling face and she must have seen my question.

    “Are you gonna jump?” She rephrased it.

    I shook my head and raised my shoulders, “I don’t know. . . Maybe . . . I think so . . . Yeah. Yeah, I think I am.”

    Her laugh grated against all of my nerves, “You sound so sure of yourself.”

    I gave her a half-smile and confided, “I’m afraid of heights.”

    “I gathered.” Her whisper made her sound like she was my co-conspirator.

    Before I realized what she was doing, she plopped down beside me and leaned in, “You don’t have to do this.”

    I gave her a look and nodded toward a group of people standing at the edge of the lake.

    “Yes I do. You see those people? They’re my friends who bet me I wouldn’t jump.”

    She nodded sagely.

    “So, are you gonna jump?”

    “I am.”

    Before I could talk myself out of it, I stood up and leapt.

    @TeresaMEccles
    250 words

  8. Izzy’s finger hovered over the button. It was a simple switch, requiring little pressure. At the moment Dougie was alive, the ventilator oxygenating his blood, but in a few minutes, he could be dead.
    The choice was hers.

    “Take your time,” the nurse said. “You don’t have to do this now. Take as long as you need. It’s important you feel you’re in charge. It must be so traumatic for you, knowing how close he is.”

    Izzy nodded, barely perceiving her. She registered the white uniform and the name badge, but beyond that, the nurse could have been anyone. It was enough she was present, sharing the room with her. She needed someone who could give her reassurance, someone who cared.

    “He was a good man, you know?” Izzy looked up, lifting her finger. Her husband had been laid in the bed like a side of beef with a pulse. It had been more than a week since he’d been conscious, the last syllables he’d spoken those of her name. She wished she could have been here: she hadn’t known about the accident. It was to be only a week, just seven days. His career had meant so much to him; with him always needing to travel so he could earn enough to keep them in comfort. ‘Just one last trip,’ he’d said the week before, rolling his eyes and laughing the way he used to. She hadn’t believed it then, but now she did.

    He’d never fly again.

    249 words ~ twothirdsrasta.blogspot.com

  9. Paprika was no racist. She recognized the bigoted bullshit everyone spouted about giants for what it was; and was sure some were fine people. She just didn’t know the man hoisting Paprika and her 500-pound golem to the main deck unaided, and it was perfectly reasonable to be uneasy.

    The little catgirl in captain’s regalia who led them here leapt aboard—scurrying to the giant’s leg and up to perch on his shoulder like the canary on her own. Paprika kept subtly behind her golem.

    “Thank you, for saving us.” Paprika looked past the giant to the girl on his shoulder.

    “It were me pleasure,” the girl purred. “I were quite impressed with yer golem. Could I convince ye to let him serve in me crew?”

    Paprika’s stomach twisted. The pint-sized pirate only encountered Lucretius this morning and had no idea what she had involved herself in. After two years in the cruel pig’s possession, Paprika knew.

    “I’m sorry,” the dancer hung her head. “I need the golem for protection, and to get as far from Freehold as possible.”

    “What if I could hide ye from yer pursuer?”

    “You don’t understand; with Lucretius’ resources hiding is impossible! I have to spend the rest of his life on the run.”

    The giant rumbled a deep chuckle and exchanged a glance with his captain.

    “You don’t have to. Do this for Captain Kinnery, and you’ll never have to worry about Lucretius of Plutos again.”

    Paprika heard truth in his kind voice.

    249 Cat’s The Pajamas words
    @DavidALudwig

  10. “You don’t have to do this, Mike.” She said, staring over the rim of her gin and tonic.

    She was more beautiful than I remembered.

    “Yeah, Lil, I do.” I paused, “even if Luke hadn’t come here lookin’ for trouble, I would.”

    I shook my head, trying to chase away the memories of what my best friend had done to my baby sister.

    Former… Former Best Friend, that ship sailed when I kicked his ass out of town.

    “Lil, what he did to Gabby is enough, now coming after you, and who’s going to settle that score.” I growled.

    “The old man,” I laughed bitterly, “he can barely stand to see me, let alone have the stomach to do what has to be done.”

    “Ralphie, can you see my big brother getting his perfect hands dirty?”

    I took a long pull off my bottle of beer. It was strong and cold. I’d forgot how much I missed it.

    “Even if somebody would do something, would any of them do it for you?” I sighed. “Would anyone in the family stick their necks out for you?”

    I shook my head angrily, “Why? Because you’re the girl from the wrong side of the tracks? Because they found better friends and forget where they’d come from?”

    She leaned in and kissed me, and it burned through my body like a wildfire.

    “You don’t have to do this,” she said, “but I am sure as hell glad you are.”

    @jsanderse76
    245 Words

  11. The moon glimmered low in the sky, casting a glow over the great earth and the woman in his arms. The crisp fall air sent a shiver of anticipation over his skin.

    “You’re everything I’ve ever wanted, and I don’t know how to prove that to you.” His voice cracked with uncertainty.

    Lorelai tilted her head to meet his gaze. Her golden eyes offered a world filled with love and belonging. More than anything, he wanted that security. He wanted her.

    “This isn’t easy for me,” she said. “For so long, I’ve felt like your protector. I didn’t want to take advantage of that situation.”

    “No one else compares to you.”

    He took in her ageless beauty, the concern making the corner of her mouth turn down, and brought her hand up to his lips to kiss. A dabble of green and orange paint stained the tip of her index finger. “You missed a spot.”

    “I missed a lot.” She grazed her hands over his arms. “How could you be here, in front of me, and me not see you?”

    She pressed her lips against his. The heat imprinted on his soul, and claimed even more of his heart. He wrapped his arm around her waist, feeling her curves align with his.

    His inner Wolf flexed, seeking control. More. Faster. Mine. “You don’t have to do this,” he broke contact, giving her the out.

    “You don’t understand.” Her sweet breath caressed his cheek. “I want to do this.”

    @LouisaBacio
    248 words

  12. Sometimes, You Get What You Want

    I know the flea market was for a good cause, That’s why I was helping out, but every time I walked around I’d see things I wanted but couldn’t afford.

    Even if I got a tip for helping out, that would be at the end of the show and there was no guarantee anything would be left.

    And then Terry showed up, all smiles and dimples. Since the day I met him when we were six, it was the same story. Terry would show up and the seas would part and fortune would smile on him, dimples and all.

    He didn’t have any more money than I did, but he had the gift. And while any girl in our school would swoon at his feet – I’d known him too long to fall for his ways. At least that’s what I told myself until he smiled at me.

    “Hey Cease,” he called as he plopped down next to me, and so help me, I smiled.

    “Terry, what do you want?”

    “The question is, what do you want?”

    “Guess.”

    “If I had to guess, I’d say that bass you’ve been eying. Give me your money, I’ll get it for you.

    “You’re promising things you don’t have.”

    “To do this, all you need is to get people what they want.

    His plan involved wheeling and dealing his way to the Bass. By the end of the day, we had pizza and cokes, I had a 1951 Fender Bass and Terry had my heart.

    250 words not including title
    @mishmhem

  13. Dirt and debris swirl around my hand, as I sit astride my horse, Destiny. She floats in mid-air, her wings flapping as I face down Death Switzerland.

    He sneers, his hands snapping with electricity. “Last I checked, you weren’t in charge and had no authority over me.”

    The tip of the tornado tickles his Eagle, which squawks.

    “You don’t get to wipe out an entire country because you’re mad. We can fix it, but we’re running out of time.”

    For reasons unknown, Death Switzerland wiped out the country of Switzerland in a fit of rage. Snow is normal in the country but not in this quantity and not at these subfreezing temperatures. The news is filled with reports of the avalanche and The One True Death is pissed.

    “When they don’t respect me, they pay,” he growls, as I duck a lightning bolt.

    I toss the tornado adding a few bits of golf ball sized hail in for good measure.

    “Ow!”

    “You don’t have to do this,” I remind him, forming a lightning storm. “Fix what you did. That’s an order.”

    He stares at me for a second, then disappears. There’s a tug in my chest and then I fly to Switzerland; the storm has been reversed and while there will be a blizzard, it won’t leave everyone dead.

    “Happy?” he barks.

    “Thank you. Off to the Solitary Plane for one week.”

    Before he can protest, I wave my hand. That’ll teach him to mess with the weather girl.

    @Aightball
    249 words

  14. #ThursThreads Week 418 is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope to catch you next week.

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