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 426 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 426:
Dark fantasy author, archer, and horsewoman, Daelyn Morgana.
And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
“Time to go into battle.”
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 426”
Death Is A Weaver
Winter was looming. Sure, it was still August. Sure, Trump was still President. All that aside, I could feel the north wind getting its blustery act together.
Crime may like the cold, ice picks to the brain and all, but it absolutely loves the passions that erupt in the summer heat.
So, when Effie Finecastle, fiftyish maybe, leaning to a Mae West physique, but with long slim fingers and soft warm skin appeared early in the month, I was all ears.
“I’m embarrassed to even be here,” she said.
“Me too, sometimes,” I shared. “Still. Here we are. How can I help?”
She laid it out in fits and starts. Since COVID, her weaver’s group had shifted gears and were now mass-producing masks for here and abroad. They had a few new members. One, quite a bit younger than the norm, ‘and attractive, if you like the type,’ she added. More to the point, they had recruited some of their husbands to help out. “Mind you, we work in pods, now. Six feet apart. And, occasionally, we socialize…socially distant barbecues.”
“And?” I wisely, albeit succinctly, added.
“We all wear masks, of course, except for eating, drinking…but…the eyes. My husband. Walter. His eyes. Her eyes. A woman always knows.”
Effie had a plan. I was to join the group. Gain Walters trust.
“Men like to brag, don’t they?” she stated.
“We do, “I confessed. “Okay, Mrs. Finecastle! Time to go into battle.”
What could possibly go wrong.
I’ve never prepared for a fight.
Stocking up on supplies, readying weapons, and generally making peace with the fact that I might not live to see tomorrow is not a thing I ever thought I’d do. But here I am.
Across the room, Valmong moves like he’s done this a million times.
And maybe he has. I have no idea what his life was like before I fell into it. It strikes me, suddenly, that I wonder what it will be like after I’m gone. Would he miss me? Even if I survive this, I won’t be staying. The goddess will make sure I’m sent home.
I’m not sure if that’s what I want anymore.
Valmong adjusts the strap on his shoulder. “Time to go.”
“Into battle, ready to kick some ass!” Nevari seems entirely too eager, body fidgeting with restless energy. She shifts from foot to foot, like she’s ready to bolt out the door.
If only I had half her self-assurance. Maybe if I did, I wouldn’t be fighting the knot in my throat, or pushing down the words I wish I could say out loud.
Nevari practically bounces out the door. Valmong moves to follow, but stops when he notices me lingering.
“Camilla?” He turns, closing some of the distance. “Are you alright?”
I want to say it. That I don’t want to leave, and that it’s because of him, but the words don’t come.
“Nervous.” I smile, pushing past him before he can ask more questions.
250 #TeamRPG words
My younger sister watches me as I do the dishes. She’s supposed to be sweeping the floor like our mom asked.
“Hey,” I say, turning off the water after I finish, “Aren’t you supposed to be doing something?”
“Yeah,” she replies, “but I really don’t want to. Why don’t you do it?”
I roll my eyes. My eight-year old sister gets super annoying sometimes.
“Why don’t you do it instead? It’s your job” I snap back. She just looks at me. She knows that she’s annoying me. But she will pay the price.
“Time to go into battle”, I think. I slowly walk toward her. Beneath her annoying expressions, I see a glint of fear in her eyes. She thinks she knows what’s coming.
Quietly, I grab her broom. The fear in her eyes fades, replaced with triumph. But instead of sweeping the floor, I hit her with the end of the broom.
She looks surprised for a fraction of a second, then takes off running down the hallway.
I chase after her, dropping the broom. She runs into our parents’ room and onto the bed. I leap onto the bed and pin her down.
“So,” I say, staring directly into her eyes. “Are you going sweep now?”
She gives a frantic nod.
I release her. She runs out of the room and downstairs.
I sigh, shake my head, and get up, staring down the hallway after her.
This battle will never end.
What did that Pat Benatar song say? Love is a battlefield. Boy, she got that right. I stared at my reflection in the mirror. I saw the changes in my face, the scar along my jawline was the least of it. I recognized the resolve in my expression. I’d floated along, never making waves. It was easier, given my family. My mother was a doormat. I could see that in hindsight. My father, like my brother, a bully. I’d turned to food for comfort and to protect myself, as if the extra pounds would cushion the blows—physical and emotional.
My role as fat-girl sidekick lasted through high school, college, and my professional life. I’d turned into a caricature of my mother. And then one night, after I allowed my so-called friends to walk all over me again, I’d fled. The fateful decisions to stop for comfort food and climb onto the back of Wizard’s bike changed me. Whether for the better remained to be seen.
I worked hard on my makeup. Smokey eyes, but not overdone like so many of the woman who hung around the clubhouse. I stared at my scar. I had special makeup that would mostly cover it. I picked up the container, looked at it, studied my face, and tossed it in the trash. This was me now. My new reality. And by God, I’d embrace my life.
I was ready to fight for what I wanted—Wizard. “Time to go into battle.”
250 NIGHT WISH WIP words
“You can’t be serious, Agent. A law school article?”
I glanced at my notes. A deliberate pause for effect. “Did you write the article, Judge?”
My colleague, Claire and I, special agents with the FBI, were interviewing Judge Avery, a Third Circuit federal judge and Supreme Court nominee. Part of the vetting process in anticipation of the Senate confirmation hearings.
“Yes, I did write it. But it was a long time ago.”
“The views expressed are kinda misogynistic, don’t you agree?” I waited again for his response. Claire tapped my knee, a warning that I was going too far. We were here to gather information, not interrogate.
Judge Avery shifted in his chair, clearly uncomfortable with my question. We noted his explanation that his views had changed, and after a few more questions we ended the interview. Claire and I left the Judge’s chambers armed with our notes to be given to our superiors at the Bureau.
As we left the courthouse, Claire shook her head. “The President isn’t gonna be happy about his choice for the Supreme Court turning out to be a sexist pig.”
Claire was right. The President was a liberal and he wanted a liberal justice, but he also wanted to avoid a bitter confirmation hearing in the Senate. His choice of Judge Avery, thought to be a moderate, was designed for a quick and easy confirmation. Would the President sacrifice his principles to avoid a fight?
“Time to go into battle,” I said to Claire.
Phinn snorted. “Oh sure. It’s not like the Fae can hear better, see better, and move faster, with magic, I might add, than humans. You got a plan for escaping those skills?”
She smirked. “I do. It’s time to go into battle. A battle of skill and wits. Because here’s the thing. The Fae believe the same things you do; that they’re better at everything than humans. And frankly, they’re right. But they’re predictable and overconfident. And we’re not ordinary humans.”
She turned her back and looked over her shoulder. “Can you untie this dress please?”
He huffed a sigh but tugged on the ties at the collar of her dress. “Can you tell me this plan of yours?”
Kendra hummed, eyeing the baubles the Fae had given her to wear. “Yes, after you do me a favor.” She shimmied out of the dress and let it pool around her ankles before stepping out of it and grabbing the jewelry and dropping it into the velvet pouch she’d been offered. When she turned around, she found Phinn slack-jawed and fixated on her ass. “Phinn?”
He blinked and straightened, faint pink staining his cheeks as his gaze focused back on her face. “Uh, yeah?”
“Take this and give it to the guards outside. If they won’t take it, have them call the Chamberlain. Give this to them while I get dressed.” When he didn’t move, she tossed him the pouch. “Off you go now.”
“Uh, right. Yeah, right.”
249 ineligible #WIP365 words
The policewoman took my hand. She was covered in blood too. We were sitting together away from where the commotion had been.
“Take it easy,” she said. “There’s nothing more we can do. We’ll just have to trust in those who’ll follow on from us.”
I could still hear the alarms sounding, their constant ululation jarring every molecule within me. I could smell the gunshot residue, feel a stickiness covering my hands and my face.
“We shouldn’t have tried,” I said. “It wasn’t worth it. It was only money, after all.”
And yet I couldn’t imagine it playing out any other way. The first shot had been aimed directly at her, knocking her from her feet, sending her radio spinning away from her. She didn’t even know what had happened until afterwards, when we both had time to talk. We had all the time we needed now, not that it was any use to us.
The second gunman had taken me from behind, drilling a hole through my chest, the blast from his weapon dropping me before I could release the paperweight I’d tried to throw. They’d almost escaped from my store without anyone resisting them, WPC Emily unfortunate in that she’d walked in on them without knowing, unaware it was her time to go into battle until she’d already fallen.
And now we were alone, two witnesses who would never testify in a courtroom, waiting in the space between breaths.
Maybe we would never know what would happen next.
250 words ~ twothirdsrasta.blogspot.com
Stephan was nobody’s fool. He just found a direct approach more effective than the clever conniving expected of well-bred Sofians. His best friend, Damon, always understood. Damon’s parents had been from Polemos and knew the value of a strong arm and a sharp sword, even if their employers treated them like trained animals. The wiry black-haired boy had been fond of complaining no one ever gave them a fair chance. Even then, Stephan said that was why they had to take what they wanted for themselves.
Stephan and Damon ran away from home at age thirteen. They joined the Polemos army. Stephan found himself and changed his name, and Damon had his back all the way. Those were good years. The two buddies got in constant trouble for showing up their squad mates but were well on their way to becoming professional soldiers. They were assigned to active units that saw a lot of action for the time. Just not enough for Stephan. That was before The War after all.
Stephan never got to fight in The War. He was dishonorably discharged for brawling the year before it started. These days no one knew him as Stephan anymore. Since becoming the best hired muscle in the Plutos underworld he was simply Slayer. The sound of shattering bottles and breaking chairs as local toughs armed themselves to educate an upstart outsider brought a smile to Slayer’s face.
Time to go into battle.
241 Cat’s The Pajamas words
Weary, tired of fighting unwinnable battles maybe I should pass on this one? That is how I’d come to this precipice. I’d been wronged, then blamed me by Paul Frieze .Now I had to fight in a duel. “Time to go into battle.”
He no idea he was fighting a woman.
I met him at dawn he tripped me as he was losing then cut me under the arm. I switched arms bouncing to my feet. Slicing his arms his chest and finally the top of his leg.
“ Finish me!”
I turned to walk away he sliced the bottom of my leg.
The doctor was sent for, examining Paul, he said Paul would live. Turning to me, I waved him away, but he ignored me pointing to the blood dripping profuse me from under my arm. He patched me up knowing full well I was a woman. He asked me out. I refused but he persisted. three months we dated, the end of the year he proposed marriage Telling me he would never tie my strings that I would be free to fly behaving as I needed to. We were married Christmas Day. He lived up to his word. I had a freedom unknown to other housewives owning property, my own money.
For 50 years I was his wife and now he’s gone but I was blessed ,as for Paul he fought one to many times and was killed nearly 50 years ago. Battles sometimes need to be fought.
Attacking me does not make me Iowa Nice. I throw a bolt of lightning as a fireball flies my way. Naturally, my horse Destiny picks that moment to do a sudden drop.
She kept me from getting zapped, even if my stomach did a flip. “Thanks for the save.”
Our opponent drops on his eagle, a caw rending the night. Destiny’s whinny vibrates the air and the eagle keeps back a little. I lean into her mane, reigns tight in my hands, as her wings flap, raising us to meet the eagle.
“Time to go into battle,” I whisper.
I sit up, the wind below us swirling, lightning flashing, thunder rumbling. A tornadic storm over Iowa in November? Why the hell not?
“Two can play at that game,” Death Sweden shouts.
Before he can set off his attack, my tornado whips him off his eagle. The ground is frozen solid and covered in an inch of fresh snow. I hit him with rain and lighting as his eagle swoops in for the save.
“Horace trained you well.” Sweden bobs in the air, his eagle’s wings flapping occasionally. “But I am one opponent. An army is coming. No woman will ascend the throne of Death!”
He flies away and I calm the storm, blowing a little warm air to keep the rain from freezing. Opening a portal to the Dark Plane I sprint to Horace’s office. One person is an easy battle; an entire army is going to be a problem.
The Battle of Ted’s Deli
I told them I was going to clean up this town, and that is what I planned to do. I held no illusions that it would be exactly what it was, war. And almost as soon as I made my bold statement there were people gunning for me.
I loaded up a wide array of weapons and implements to make the job easier but I could tell people were waiting for me to fail. Well, some of them were, others were getting ready to make sure I failed.
I surveyed the town, read through the records, and figured out my plan of attack. It wasn’t going to be pretty, but I knew what I had to do. Weapons holstered, I headed out to the south side of town, all the naysayers gathered on the North end, just watching me.
“Time to go into battle,” I said and wheeled my mop bucket to the corner deli. I could hear the wheels squeak and before I knew it the naysayers were gathered around me.
“You’ll want to use ammonia on that.” One suggested. “No, vinegar!” another suggested.
By the time I finished at the deli, I’d had enough. I mixed the ammonia with the bleach and walked away. Now I could clean in peace.
212 words not including title
There they were again – the wizard, the warrior, the jester and the queen – the givers of nightmares and the withholders of peaceful sleep.
“You dare to approach my grim throne?” The Jester sneers. “What makes you think you can defeat us this time?”
Tonight because of the packet in my pocket, I run my fingers over its humble cardboard packaging and smile.
I am unsure why i received this boon, but I will not forsake it…it is Time to go into battle.
“I come to release my dreams from your control.”
With that, they attack.
The Warrior’s armies march forward to trample me under their feet.
I summon the Queen of the Workman. Her brethren open holes that swallow the warrior and his armies.
The Queen approaches seductive promises on her lips.
The King of Jewels arrives and spirits her away to the luxuries of his court.
The Wizard’s Dragon scratches the field with fire and smoke, but the Duke of Staves dashes forward and slays the mighty beast.
“Child,” the Jester says, “What power do you have left to topple the mirthless throne?”
I smile and throw him a single token, infused with the power of her twelve sisters toward the Jester.
“No..how could you?” The Jester cries as the power of love collapses this dark and lonely world.
“With a child’s greatest powers…” I say as I start to wake, “Imagination and love.”
#ThursThreads Week 426 is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope to catch you next week. 🙂