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 421 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 421:
Computer geek, bass player, historical reenactor, and flashfiction writer, Mary Decker.
And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
“What’s really going on?”
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!
15 Replies to “#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 421”
A lilac peacock strutted past; its tail bejewelled with rhinestones. The frogs in the trees sang a three-part harmony, the lead melody performed by an ebony toad, its voice a low basso.
“What’s going on?” the line-backer asked, his eyes quartering each of the above, not wanting to get involved. “What’s REALLY going on?” he continued. “I don’t like this.” He dropped the ball he was carrying, letting it roll into the undergrowth. A bouquet of pheasants then erupted from their hiding place, showering sprays of sparks that flared more brightly as they rose. Every one disappeared as a reluctant sigh, exhaling a scent of lavender and patchouli.
“It’s to be expected,” I said, grinning inanely. “It’s quite the norm here. The life you were used to has gone. Gone forever, along with all rationality and reason. It becomes quite refreshing if you remember not to resist. But if you forget…”
“It becomes a bummer.” The peacock grinned too, its eyes rolling like the reels on a fruit machine, the missing playing counter guaranteeing that the player would always lose. That was a common theme here, as it was in the real world; however well you thought you were playing, the house always won.
“You can’t believe that,” the line-backer said, looking for his way out again. “What’s the point of it all, if that’s the truth of it?”
“And yet that’s the nub of it,” I replied, taking his hand. “Madness is what always prevails, I’m afraid.”
247 inanities (and a dormouse) – twothirdsrasta.blogspot.com
Private Eyes and other Failing Senses
“What is it?”
“Sorry, Matron. He’s at it again.”
“Who’s at what? Be clear. My sleep is precious these days.”
“Mr. Shovel. Sam Shovel.”
“Mother of God. Okay, I’ll be down shortly.”
“Good. Problem is, we’ve lost track of him.”
“WHAT? He’s barely mobile!”
“He’s been hobbling quite nicely of late. And convinced…that…”
“Well, his words…that murder’s afoot.”
“MURDER? WHOSE MURDER?”
“We’ve lost six residents in the past month.”
“TO COVID. Not Murder.”
“I’m just telling you what he’s been saying, Matron.”
“Saying to who? Spit it out, Hobbes. What’s really going on?”
“He’s been agitating everyone. Me…all the staff, we’ve tried not to pester you. He’s been confined to his room like all our residents but, well, he’s slick. Used to be a detective, right. Cons his way out. ‘Just be a moment,’ he says. ‘Safe distance. Got my mask, see!’ People listen to him. He just bulldozes his way, and no one really wants to touch anyone…”
“OKAY. Let’s start searching…every nook and cranny.”
“Every crook and granny…”
“That’s what he says whenever anyone says nook and cranny.”
“Yes, Ma’am. Get right on it.”
SAM: Here I go. Never thought I’d end up in a place like this. Death never ends does it. Friends dying all around you as a matter of course. And now this epidemic. A little sneeze, a little choke. I need a final walk in the woods. Living can be murder.
I pushed the kitchen door open and it slammed against the wall. I wasn’t pissed. Much. The noise in the clubroom behind me didn’t cover up the door’s bang. The two women standing next to the stove stared at me, wide-eyed and pretending innocence. Inhaling deeply, I let my wolf’s senses sort through the various scents permeating the room.
“Oh, hi, Wiz.” Sam wiggled fingers in a gesture to match her voice. Easy’s old lady thought she was pulling one over on me. She cut her eyes to Shy, Gravedigger’s mate. She just rolled her eyes and glowered. Shy had been an MP in the Army. She didn’t put up with bullshit.
I sniffed again. There it was. A faint whiff of peaches, overridden by fake fresh air. I noticed the can of air freshener that Shy hadn’t quite managed to nudge behind her. Jen. She’d been here. And since these two were doing their best to cover that up, Jen had been standing in this kitchen recently. Fuck.
“Where is she?”
The old ladies exchanged looks again. Shy hooked her thumbs in her jeans and Sam crossed her arms over her chest.
“Don’t fuck with me, Sam.”
“You might be a bastard, Wizard, but Jen is still our friend so screw you.” Shy’s gaze narrowed and damn if I didn’t actually see the light bulb go off in her eyes. “Wait. What’s really going on?”
Thank fuck for the Russian. Nobody argued with him.
250 Night Wish WIP words
“What’s really going on?”
It was a stupid question to ask, really, because I found myself on a flagstone staircase, alone, in a drafty castle. Maybe I said it just to hear my own voice. Or maybe I spoke in case someone else wandered this place. Despite my best efforts, no one answered me.
The staircase had broken steps and a pair of suits of armor at the base on each side. One was missing the helmet and one arm.
That doesn’t bode well.
Flickering candelabras glowed behind the arms of the stairs and piles of books lay on the floor or stacked haphazardly on the shelves all the way up to the vaulted ceilings.
“What the hell is this place?”
I climbed the stairs, trying to see everything at once, but there was too much to take in. More suits of armor awaited me at the top of the stairs while shorter book shelves and study tables filled the floor.
Is this a library?
Fraying tapestries hung from the columns and ladders rose to meet the top of huge shelves, but no one moved among them. I moved deeper into the room and found someone had been studying at the center table.
Yeah, for a long damn time. The skeleton draped over the top surface retained enough sinew to remain articulated in its disintegrated coat. Whatever it’d been reading must’ve been dead boring.
I swallowed hard. Where the hell had I gotten to and how did I get there?
250 ineligible I-blame-Nara-Malone words
Find the Storyteller’s Castle here:
Sebastian shrugged, his gaze on the thorns as they throbbed before receding back under her skin, the body gone. “You will need to come up with your own name. A name that you will always been known as to the others. They have had their own names changed. I don’t know if they remember them or if it is a close secret that they keep closed to their chest.”
“What’s really going on? He was murdered and now I…” Kate tilted her head. “Why would they want to do that. I can see shadows of what he saw but that’s it.”
“The realm of the thorns is a gateway, it filters back and forth between elemental realms, your world and others. There are many that might be out there that keep to themselves.” Sebastian brushed some lint off his coat. “If the thorns were not there to keep things separated, who knows what sort of chaos would ensue. There needs to be a filter to keep things from ripping apart. True chaos is a thing no one is prepared for.” He gave her a slight smile. “Thorns are seen as lower but they have as much of an important roll as the others.”
“So these elementals, what is involved in them.”
“They are like you. People who came from somewhere else. Perhaps even a few of them actually were non-thinking beings and they were chosen.”
235 WIP words
The mission was blown.
The objective had been moved.
Our squad was scattered, and the enemy still held the high table.
“Sarge, what’s really going on?” Jerry shouted.
“We’re flying blind, Sarge.” Speedy added.
“Flash bang of some sort, but we all know the way home, we’ve just got to get back to base.” I answered, trying to sound calm, even though I was anything but.
I had to stay strong for my team. We were cut off from our support, basically on our own.
“C’mon boys, stay close” I said, running some of the rope that I’d brought with me between us. “We just got to get back to base, olf Mort will know what to do.”
I leaned down and looked ayJerry, he was just so young, so scared. This was his first mission.
“Sarge,. I’m bleeding, and I can’t see anything, What if she comes back?”
I put my hand on his shoulder, “It’s okay, son. These things happen, these cheese got moved. We just need to soldier on.”
“Soldier on, Soldier on,” Speedy cried, “Are you out of your mind, Sarge?”
“We’re blind as bats. They’re out there hunting us.” He snarled. “And that crazy bitch cut off our freaking tails, Sarge.”
He turned to show me the bloody stump, “our freaking tails,. And you want us to soldier on?”
“It’s that or die. And I’ll be damned if some farmer’s wife ends my life.” I growled as I started walking.
I answered the phone to my girlfriend of the last two weeks.
“There’s something bad going on here,” Mia whispered.
“What have you done?”
“I’ve killed the Lord High Vampire, Æthelberht.”
“Bertie is dead? My brother is dead?”
“I had no choice it was him, or me and I prefer me.”
“You’d better flee and hope they and I never find you.”
“They’ll blame you too.”
“Because my plan has been this all along. Hadn’t you guessed at all?”
“I don’t understand.”
“Oh, Barclay it’s been a laugh, but the truth is I wanted to get even with you both and now I have. They’ll believe you killed Æthelberht and that I tried to stop you.”
“I ask you why again? I love you.”
“You killed my whole family. You sucked them all dry last year like they were cows or some kind of meat. You and your evil Vampire Lord brother, Æthelberh are scum. I hope your fellow vampires kill you.”
“You’re dead Mia.”
“I am. You see I’ve taken cyanide at least I’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you and Æthelberht will rot in hell.”
I knew I was done for I needed to take steps to protect myself. The sun was starting to come up as I stepped out my front door and the searing sun burned through my flesh. I embraced the light asking for forgiveness and was forgiven and I felt the first peace come over me in centuries.
Cold dread paralyzed Erin, briefly stopping her heart as the whole continent shook. The Nightwall once stretched unbroken from Rim to Brink, defining the southern horizon. Now a break in the eternal wall exposed the gaping Dark beyond.
The horrific maw drew the seelie princess past the broken bodies of the wall’s unseelie defenders. Before she could shake herself from her stupor, her unseelie sister returned from beyond the breach.
“Morrigan… What have you done?”
Erin’s throat was so tight, she wasn’t sure if she got her words out. Morrigan looked at her sister with alien eyes.
“What had to be done, sister.”
Others found Morrigan unapproachably cold, but her voice had never chilled Erin until now. Her eyes… Those weren’t they eyes of the girl Erin had grown up with. The summer sister covered her mouth with both hands.
“You’ve touched the Dark! Morrigan, you’ve gone mad! Quickly, maybe I can still heal your mind!”
Her sister’s cutting laugh shook Erin like the sundering of the Nightwall.
“I think I would know if I had gone mad, sister. Those before me were unready, but the Dark has given me enlightenment—not madness.”
Erin’s feelings of powerlessness poured in hot streams from the corners of her eyes.
“They’ll hunt you. The unseelie already considered you a heretic, and the seelie won’t forgive this treason! You can’t fight both courts…”
“Don’t you see what’s really going on?” Cruelty had replaced kindness in Morrigan’s smile. “It’s the courts that can’t fight destiny.”
250 Cat’s The Pajamas words
“Everyone you ever worked with. Everyone for 29 years. Gone. You burned every bridge. You alienated them all. You walked away from everyone.”
There was nothing to say. Every word she’d said was true. I had. I knew it.
“Tell me. Please. What’s really going on?”
God, those eyes of hers. It always came down to them. Against them I had no defense. No protection. Her eyes had a straight path to my soul. One she could use anyway she wanted, any times she wished, and I couldn’t stop her.
“That doesn’t answer anything.”
“What do you want me to say?”
“The truth! That’s all I want. The truth.”
“What? That parts of me are gone? That’s the truth. Parts are gone. They’re not coming back.” I couldn’t hide the fire in me. The rage. Not from her. Not from her eyes. “What happened tore my heart out. It’s gone. I don’t feel anything for them anymore. For anyone, anymore.”
“That’s not true!”
I didn’t answer, instead, I looked away, as if to say I didn’t want to talk anymore.
When her hand touched my shoulder, my world came crashing down, and I crashed with it, into silence. “I’m here, you know. And I’m not leaving.”
I hoped someday I could find a way to tell her, to answer her question, but I didn’t know if I’d ever find a way past the missing parts of me. “I don’t want you to go away.”
“What’s really going on?” The information had split five directions and now she was trying to piece together the truth. Except it wasn’t so easy. The news sources continued to show different sides of the tale, fractured, reintegrated, edited, and embellished.
Days like this she hated her job as an information scientist. Librarian is the old world term, back in the days where they shelved books. That wasn’t her job. She had to splice together the truth, the facts, surgically cutting out the lies so that her clients could utilize the information and make informed decisions.
She wondered as she read another article, digging through similar threads, making note of bias and opinion, was there a time when journalists printed the truth? Any more, every article was an editorial selling an idea. Even video couldn’t be trusted. Too many had the skill to edit in their own narrative, give it their own spin.
Her client, the Advocate, would speak for the family involved, hoping to prevent their deportation to the fringe, a wasteland where people society marginalized would have to scratch for survival. Society was relentless, heartless, biting, scratching, clawing. She wondered if they were the monsters, not this family.
She finally stripped away the footage and reviewed it. Undoctored, it was clear that the family had been in the wrong place at the wrong time, overrun by the crowd. They were not instigating the unrest. They were targeted as unwanted, shoved aside. She frowned. Would it be enough?
249 words, @DenRhea1
“Deputy Miller, a serious situation has risen.” Alex said, cleaning a lunar beer mug as he spoke.
“Like what?” Miller answered, not interested in the Conrad Station barkeep’s current crisis. She checked her watch, knowing that Nils Carmike would soon dock. Miller made sure she knew Nils’s activity.
“We need more people in the bar or else I will have to raise the price of drinks.”
“What do you want me to do about it?” She asked, not really caring what he would ask.
“If you can get some more people to take the time to come here, I’m sure we’ll get this place back on its feet.”
“It’s not my job to keep you in business.”
“Sure. But I’d like to think you would care about the station. I mean, this place is no dive, but it’s getting harder to keep it from gaining that reputation.” Alex said.
“What’s really going on?”
“Okay Deputy, you really want to know?”
“I asked,” she seethed.
“You hang around too much.”
“You’re driving my customers away,” he said. “Ever since you and Nils had your fling a couple weeks ago, you’re here giving him grief at your every opportunity. It was cute at first, but you are driving away my paying customers.”
“What?” she said again, shocked that he knew about her conflict with Nils.
‘Who else knows?’ she thought.
“I need Nils to tell his stories here. Since there are no bar fights, I don’t need you, Deputy.”
I trip over my long-haired white cat Muncie when I walk in the house. She greets me at the door, and stretches up the door frame, encompassing the entire space. I step around her only to have her right under foot seconds later. She yowls when I step on her tail and nips my ankle.
“It’s your fault!”
Once my bags are put away, I feed Muncie, then sit down before starting supper. She flounces into the living room, licking her chops, then bites my ankle.
“Damn cat!” I shout, springing to my aching feet.
She runs as I try to catch her to put her in time out. Giving up when she hides under my table, I grab some chips and dip and sit back down, putting my feet up. Naturally, she’s on my lap seconds later, walking across my computer and trying to lick the chip dip.
She settles herself over the arm of the chair, her butt planted firmly on my leg. Huffing out a little cat breath, she growls when I try to pet her. I try to type and she shifts to sit more on the keyboard.
“What’s really going on?”
Stretching, she stands up, walks onto the lamp table, then turns to look at me again. Primly settling her fluffy white butt on the table, she grooms herself.
“You were gone all day. Again. But you fed me, so we’re good now.”
Her tail flicks as she waltzes away, nose in the air.
#ThursThreads Week 421 is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope to catch you next week.