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 429 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 429:
Scottish Word Slinger, Dauntless romance author, and #ThursThreads host, Siobhan Muir.
Facebook | Twitter | Patreon | EdenBooks |
And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
“How much time do I have?”
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 429”
By the time the cops arrived, Effie Finecastle had simmered down. It’s not easy losing a friend.
Mind you, friendships are costly.
I hate intimacy.
Easier that way.
To avoid unveiling the real reason I was with Effie, investigating whether hubby Erv was shtupping Mona, the daughter of the just expunged Helen Monterey, we spun our original cover tale; my itch to learn weaving.
The investigating detective, Wick Waters, a hard-nosed brute who’d braced me a time or two before, clearly did not buy our story. “So, Peeper, learning to weave, eh? Always thought you liked to string people…and things along. Give a scallywag enough rope!”
Looking at Effie, I could see Waters had planted a seed of doubt about my skills.
“Do we have to stay here?” she asked Waters.
“Nah, we got your statements, for what they’re worth. You can scram. Gumshoe, I’ll be visiting you to have a heart to heart real soon!“
Out of police earshot, Effie said, “This is so upsetting. What have I done?”
“We should talk.”
We walked over to a small café, the Java Joint.
Settled in, steaming coffee in hand, she announced, “Ervin hated Helen. Always did.”
“Murder’s a big step up. What would you like?”
“I need to know…if…”
“How much time do I have? The cops will be hard at it…”
“A week? Two?”
It was gonna be a waste of her money.
I was fine with that.
Beau sprawled on the ground clutching his chest. “How much time do I have?” His voice, raspy and pain-filled, spurted out in gasps.
“What the hell are you talkin’ about?” His partner, Luc, stared down at him.
“Not talkin’ to you.” He eased his head to the side, gaze now locked on the pretty EMT kneeling beside him. “How much time do I have left?”
Beau saw the kick aimed for his thigh just in time to roll away. Spitting mad, he sprang to his feet. “What the hell was that for?”
“You ain’t dyin’.”
“I might’a been. I took that bullet in the heart.”
“Uh huh. Right on the extra ballistic plate in your bullet-proof vest.”
Luc stretched a hand to the EMT, who accepted his assistance to stand. She winked at them. “Y’all always make me laugh.”
“I can make you do more than that if you’ll just give me your phone number.” Beau showed off his dimples.
“Already got an alpha male in my life. I don’t have room for any more.” She gathered up her gear and sauntered away. Both deputies watched the seductive sway of her hips.
“She’s doin’ that on purpose,” Luc observed.
“Yup,” Beau agreed then sobered. “Now it’s time to hunt.”
After a round of rock paper scissors, Beau wandered off grumbling about the game being rigged. Once the scene cleared of spectators, he returned in wolf form. Nose to ground, he searched for the man who’d tried to kill him.
250 Cajun Wolf #WIP words
“You did what!?” Ben, a private investigator I’d hired, was stunned when I told him I’d left my shoes in the congressman’s apartment after our little break-in. They were killing my feet and I kicked them off when we entered the place, but I forgot to retrieve them.
Now I was sitting opposite the congressman at lunch in this trendy Japanese restaurant and I had the uneasy feeling he suspected something.
“Are you flirting with me, Congressman?” Yeah, I know … it was a bold question. I can’t believe I actually had the nerve. Then again, my job called for a certain amount of boldness. The DNC hired me to investigate candidates the party wanted to support. To dig up the dirt where there was dirt. And there usually was. I had to make sure their support of those candidates wouldn’t prove embarrassing. Even disastrous.
The congressman smiled. “Why, no, of course not. That would be entirely inappropriate.” He shoved a generous amount of sashimi into his mouth while still managing to be attractive and charming. Lunch wasn’t going the way I planned.
“Tell me about yourself, Congressman.” I smiled to soften my interrogation.
I knew the standard answers he gave the press about his positions on the issues, but I needed to know more personal stuff. Was his public image just a facade? His face was unreadable. This wasn’t going to be easy.
“How much time do I have? “ he said.
Whenever little Horatio ran in after his family sat for dinner, his father would tell him, “Horry, you’ll be late for your own funeral.”
The sun told Horatio when to wake up, when to go out, when to read beneath the willow’s yellow-green leaves. So did the bells in the clock tower. He never needed to ask, “How much time do I have?”
“After all,” he’d tell his friends, “I’ve got all of you to remind me.” He lost some of them like all his watches, too.
Horatio decided to become a writer, he said until he ran out of pencils. He set his work hours by passages of sun across sky, words beneath his hand, and breaths followed by more breaths until he gently offered his last.
Horatio’s father found him, pencil stub in hand, paper beneath his smiling face. He read the final passage of that timeless life through tick-tock tears falling like seconds, minutes, hours Horry never cared to count. It read, “Pencil’s gone. Time to go.”
As the funeral procession pulled away for the church, Horatio’s father touched the driver’s shoulder and asked him to wait.
“Sir, we gotta be there before 9:00,” he said. Bells pealed…ding-dong, ding-dong, then single rings…six, seven, eight…
Horatio’s father watched the sun creep toward what for him would never be 9:00 again. Gently massaging the circle of pale skin on his wrist, he said, “Just a little longer. We had a deal.”
250 Not-so-timeless Words
“Isn’t that a good thing?” I didn’t understand her resignation.
“No, no, it’s good. It’s definitely good.” She sat down near the table. “It’s just that the shop and apartment was the last little bit of my mom that I had left. It’s a loss I can’t get back and no amount of money can replace the sentimental cost.” She scrubbed her face. “Anyway, because of the age of the building, it being paid off, the size, and the zoning, they’re actually cutting me a check for about three quarters of a million dollars.”
I coughed, shooting her a surprised look. “$750,000?”
She snorted and some of her amusement came back. “Yeah, sounds like a lot, doesn’t it?”
“Hell yeah, it’s a lot. That’ll give you a damn good head start on finding a new shop location.” An idea sparked in my mind as I leaned against the kitchen island. “If you want some help finding a prime location, I could ask Attila if he’d be willing to help. He’s our Quartermaster and Acquisitions Manager, and knows all the prime places in Fort Collins.”
“I – really? That would be very helpful, actually.” Her expression lightened and made me feel like a frickin’ hero.
I pulled out my phone. “I could text him right now and let him think about it. How much time do I have before you need a new place?”
“I was thinking I’d start looking around the beginning of the year.”
244 ineligible #ConcreteAngelsMC words
Three figures furtively stole through lazy midday streets to the double doors of a downtown workshop. The little man with bristling white hair nodded his pompon head toward the roof. His scraggly haired lanky companion sighed but scrabbled up the corner of the building as easily as if there were a ladder.
Nodding his satisfaction, the little man reached for the pull ring on the closer door. On tip toe. He dropped back on his heels and nodded his remaining companion to the pull ring. The man with the metal head plate and two hook hands angled his good eye on the ring, hooked it, and pulled the door open. Once they were inside with the door closed behind them, the second man rejoined them through a high window.
“I don’t like this.” Pike Dumont grumbled descending shelves of materials.
“You’re the one who wanted something to do.” Tamas Scrimgeour hummed while shifting his dark tinted goggles up past his bushy white eyebrows to evaluate their surroundings.
“Upgrade.” The third man grated his agreement over his steel jaw.
Tamas turned to Pike. “How much time do I have?”
“He’s at Fish in a Dish, not the cove. I wouldn’t say more than an hour or two.”
Tamas clucked, “That’s not nearly enough!”
“Upgrade?” their battle-damaged colleague did his best puppy dog look.
Tamas nodded his subject to the work bench.
“Certainly. We just won’t get to test it here.” Tamas nodded Pike back toward the window. “Keep me informed.”
249 Cat’s The Pajamas words
Dorothy floated before him, her hair writhing around her like the fronds of an anemone.
“Enough with the adventuring,” she said. “How much time do I have?”
Prince Arman shook his head. He’d been the merman who’d offered her the air-pearl. He’d also been the one who’d had to catch it when she’d coughed it back out again. He’d had to think quickly; she was their only chance.
“It’s difficult to say,” he replied. “Its effects could be compromised. We’ve never had anyone who couldn’t swallow it down before. Dissolving it in tiger-shark milk was our last resort.”
Harvesting the milk had also been difficult. Two of the Queen’s courtiers wouldn’t ever plait her hair again. Another would probably lose his place in the Elders’ swim-team, the flukes of his tail a mangled mess. He hoped that their sacrifices wouldn’t be in vain: the kingdom would lose much more if she didn’t come through.
Dorothy shook her head. She’d already grown tired of this place, this place where she was literally out of her element. If only the merwomen weren’t always so easily distracted, forever vain and fluttering their fins at sailors.
“And it’d be better if you looked more like Fabio and less like a sea-monkey. It’s no surprise you merfolk are dying out, if you’re the best your male line can offer.”
Arman shrugged, saying nothing. She wasn’t such a catch herself. But she would come around when she realised the changes were permanent.
Land-women always did.
249 words ~ twothirdsrasta.blogspot.com
Liza Solis, remembered that night vividly. She’d shoved her entire life savings into her back pocket, five hundred dollars. Five hundred dollars she had scrimped and saved and hid from her mother. Her mother, although a miserable tyrant, Liza still knew she would miss her. She would miss her little brothers as well, but not the damn chores, and driving every-damn-body to school or daycare. She’d then ran through the night, past the grapevines and pecan trees, towards the underpass and into the arms of Angel Palomares. At seventeen, Angel was her everything. He promised a better life and she believed him.
Ten years later, Angel had left her, but not for another woman or man. He had been true to his word, “I will love from here to eternity.”
She sat in the pew of the mortuary dejected and alone. Liza wished she could rewind time:
“Liza I about to leave, are you sure you don’t want to go? There will be donuts.”
Liza sat up and said, “How much time do I have?”
“Darling,” he’d said as he walked into the bedroom, “I am leaving now.”
She sighed and said, “Can you bring me a sugar donut?”
Angel smiled at her and raised his eyebrows up and at her, “What will I get in return?”
“My sugar, sugar.”
He raced in and gave her a long passionate kiss, and said, “I’ll be back.”
But he never returned. Not to her. The red-light runner never hit the brakes, according to the police.
Twitter handle: @chattmor
The fire alarm pealed in the office and I ignored it; too many false alarms this week had dulled my senses to it. People, like drones however began exiting the office. Congratulating myself I then saw the smoke gathering in the outer office and began to panic. I crawled to the stairwell and began climbing down through the heavy smoke. I went down five flights and still found the smoke filing my lungs. Hearing the crackling, the fire was close. On the 29th floor I saw flames burning on either side of the door. I turned then saw flames on the stairs above and below. I was trapped. A man appeared and I thought, “I’m safe.”
“Come,” is all he said.
“Where can we go?” I asked.
He looked amused then said, “I’m the angel of death. Come.”
“How much time do I have?”
I followed him finding myself in a waiting room.
“What is this place?”
“The place where they decide whether you go up or down,” Death answered.
A man in a pious white robe nodded at me and said, “I am the administrator. You were foolish; but you have done enough good that we have decided to admit you.”
I breathed a sigh of relief I was entering the Pearly Gates. I followed him into an elevator and to my surprise it went down into flames. He pushed me into the fire and smoke .Coughing I realized flames were now my eternity.
Most crossovers are swift; the decedent doesn’t argue and comes with me to their afterlife with no fuss or fight. But this one is tough. A five-foot six-inch woman, with jet black hair and a frown looks me up and down, arms crossed, head cocked to one side, defiance in her eyes.
“Monica,” I say, smiling. “I’m Carla. Come with me, please. I believe you have a sister waiting for you.”
“Oh no.” She shakes her head. “Not falling for that, again. They’re going to zap me and back I go.”
The scene in the ER suggests otherwise: she’s being zapped but she’s gone. Her hourglass is empty and it’s not refilling. Finally, a blue-scrubs clad doctor shakes his head and calls it. Monica’s eyes widen.
“Wait! How much time do I have?” she asks, her frown falling.
“I’m afraid it’s over. Time to come with me.”
She screams, as a door behind me opens and a woman very much resembling Monica walks out. This woman is a little shorter, with brown hair, but otherwise, the two are nearly identical.
“Come on, Mon, time to go.”
“Cheryl? But you’re-“
“Dead, I know. Five years now. You didn’t do what I told you, huh? I said get the pacemaker, but you didn’t. And now here we are.”
“Yeah, yeah, let’s go.”
I leave them to their bickering and cross Monica off my list. Hopefully the rest of the night is a lot smoother.
Hooded in sadness, Helen’s eyes captured mine. “I knew you would come.”
Surprise caused me to step back. “What…”
She waved her hand in the air. “I’ve always known.”
“Never mind. When the doors open, you can go in.”
“How much time do I have?”
She shrugged. “I guess it depends if he comes out of the coma. If not, I’ll give you about ten minutes.”
“There’s no hope?”
“Not according to the doctor–unless there’s a miracle.”
I took a deep breath and stared at the door.
Glancing again at his wife, I could see grief etched around her mouth and eyes. A single tear slid beside her nose.
“There is a part of his brain that’s wired with your childhood memories. I could never compete.”
I shook my head. She had to be mistaken. “We were always just friends.”
“He would sometimes see the back of someone in a crowd and look expectantly—only to realize it wasn’t you.”
I wanted to deny her words, but the doors opened, and she gently pushed me into the bright lights and echoing machines.
I moved ‘til I found him.
“Quentin, I came.”
His beating heart rate increased.
Did he hear me? I moved to lay my head on his shoulder in that special place I knew so well. “You once told me we shared a divine love… I promised to come if you needed me.”
I raised my head and touched my forehead to his. “I’m here.”
A Watched Pot
I looked at my watch and did the mental calculations. It honestly didn’t matter what I started, he’d call as soon as I got rolling and I’d lose all the momentum I had. He had a 6th sense about things like timing.
He promised he’d call this morning, but there was at least another hour of ‘morning’ before he’d call to say he’d call in half an hour or an hour, or that he emailed me.
The problem was if I waited for him, he’d never call until it was too late. Twelve o’clock rolled around, no call. Thirteen-hundred no call— there was only one thing to do. I turned the oven on and let it heat up, twenty minutes later I put the bread in the oven for 12-15 minutes, I mean, how much time to I have.
He called 11 minutes later. Angry boss or scorched bread – either way, someone was going to get burned.
A watched pot may never boil, but a boss will always call at the most inconvenient time. Next up – urban rain dance.
181 words (not including the title)
“How much time do I have?” I asked Rickie, since she was still wearing her watch.
“How mad are you making your Mom?” she answered with a hint of trepidation.
“Somewhere north of the breaking china, but south of bombing China,” I replied.
“Then you needed to leave 20 minutes ago,” Rickie said seriously.
“Shit, where’d time go?” I said absently.
“You know damn well where it went,” Rickie said, licking her lips.
“Totally worth it,” I said with a smirk that made her melt.
“Damn it, Cal. You need to go.” Rickie answered, fear creeping into her voice.
I started flying away, before circling back for a long kiss goodbye.
Flushed, Ricked pushed me away, “ I’ll see you Friday for chemistry lessons.”
“My favorite subject,” I smiled as I drifted skyward.
“Could have fooled me, I’d have said anatomy.” Rickie answered, sashaying away.
With a longing look and I flew off.
I flew over the lake and used the mist to rinse Rickie’s scent off of me.
That was the last thing either of us needed.
I reached the bank and heard Mother screaming, “Let me into the vault, or I will turn Plague loose on all of you.”
On cue, I changed into a mist and floated toward the bank employees.
They opened the vault.
As she emptied it, Mother snarled at me, “You’re late, where were you?”
“I was at the school, working with The Tutor. You wanted me to get my grades up.”
The moon yawns wide above us, and stars dancing in the dark. I try to focus on that, on how peaceful it feels. Anything to distract from my own thoughts. With a sigh, I close my eyes and try to sleep.
But I can’t.
So I get up and move to sit beside Valmong, leaning against a fallen tree. A few feet away, Nevari continues to sleep uninterrupted.
“Your watch isn’t for another few hours.” Valmong’s voice is a whisper of concern. In the moonlight, his brow furrows as he watches me join him.
“Can’t sleep.” But I want to rest my head on his shoulder, hold onto him for a little longer. Despite the urge, I don’t. Instead, I opt to hug my legs, resting my head against my knees as I turn to look at him. “Aren’t you worried, about tomorrow?”
“No.” His eyes fall on me. “Are you?”
“A little.” I watch him watch me, amber eyes hidden by the shadows. I know he can see me in the dark, but I wonder if he can read the thoughts clear on my face.
Sure, I’m worried we might fail. But what I can’t admit out loud is that I’m worried about what happens if – when – we succeed. I’ll get to go home.
I’ll never see Valmong again.
How much time do I have left, I wonder, to sit with him like this? Will Claritas zap me home immediately? Or will I get a chance to say good-bye?
250 #TeamRPG words
#ThursThreads Week 429 is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope to see you next week.