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 431 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 431:
Programmer by day, writer by night, Katheryn J. Avila.
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And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
“This isn’t what I dreamed of.”
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 431”
Finecastle’s COVID signage was straightforward. Poetic, even. “Mask! And I Shall Answer.” It conveyed a message I could get behind.
Six feet behind.
As I entered, a bell dinged. The receptionist, mid-thirties, green eyes, likely a nice nose and full lips if her ears were any indication, looked up, said, “Help you? And give yourself a squirt, stranger” she pointed left towards the hand sanitizer station. I gave the gizmo a plunge, offered a slightly overused witticism, “a little dab’ll …”
Her eyes rolled.
“IRV!” she yelled, “Got a walk-in.”
“In a jiffy, Glad. Make ‘em comfy.” Deep voice. I pictured James Earl Jones. A big guy.
“Right there by the window seat,” Glad said. “Name?”
I told her and took my seat. Number One was marked on yellow tape.
From behind a wall, I heard a flush. Thin walls. If not fly-by-night, then low rent.
Finecastle stepped out. A far cry from what I pictured. Five nine, maybe. Blue blazer. Grey slacks. He waved. “Keeping our distance these days. How can I do you?”
“It’s private,” I said.
“Covid says step outside, then,” he said.
Ensconced outside, six feet apart, I went for the jugular. “Mona Monterey’s dead. Murdered.”
He fooled me and collapsed in a heap.
I just watched.
He picked himself up.
I didn’t but nodded yes.
“This isn’t what I dreamed of. I loved her.”
He’d lost me.
I don’t dream.
But I listen like stink.
Jenniah levered one eye open with caution. On my belly, she mused silently. Good. I can crawl if I need to. Not quite daring to move yet, she surveyed what she could through that one open eye.
It was dusk, if the light through the slats of the blinds could be believed. No dust motes danced between her and the fading sunlight, so the room was likely clean. No people in the room that she could see or hear, so Jenniah slowly, slowly slid her limbs out. Damn. There was a body. She encountered cold flesh with her toes.
Then her fingers.
She gasped in revulsion. Her heart began to race. Anxiety rolled over her in a tangible wave.
She tossed caution right out into the gathering darkness and contracted her muscles to stand and leap and hit a wall.
She was supposed to say something. Do something. This could not be happening!
“Jack!” she screamed. “Jackson! Are you out there?”
He’d shone a lovely light on her dreams of acting in L.A. Brought her to that studio…
“What’s my line? What am I supposed to say?” she muttered, hitting her leg to try to jog her memory. “What’s my line…? How do I make this stop?”
She swallowed and strengthened her gut before calling loudly: “This isn’t what I dreamed of!”
Lights flared. The window blinds opened.
A man’s voice yelled, “Cut! Thank you, Ms. Scott. We’ll be in touch.”
“This spell was meant to summon heroes from the farthest reaches of our lands, but something went wrong.”
“Obviously.” I snorted.
Tekhne scowled. “Instead of bringing heroes from our world, it brought souls from another world and dropped them here. Into the bodies of the would-be heroes. Apparently, without Anima’s direction, souls are being cast into bodies willy-nilly.”
I blinked. “Are you telling me I’m in someone else’s body?”
Tekhne nodded. “Yes, with their abilities and power.”
I glanced down at the body I wore. From what I could see, it looked like me, the body I was accustomed to, but I hadn’t seen any mirrors and I couldn’t say I still wore my usual face.
I met Tekhne’s eyes. “If I’m in someone else’s body, where did they go?”
The goddess shrugged. “I would guess they went into your body in your world.”
“What’s wrong, Matsuko? This can’t be all bad, can it?”
I swung around to look at Arach. “This isn’t what I dreamed of when I thought of going on an adventure. I’d pictured something more like hiking in Banff or visiting the Incan temples in Mexico.” I shot another look at Tekhne. “Why me? I mean, why my soul in this body? What was wrong with the other soul that lived here first?”
Tekhne shook their head. “No one but Anima knows.”
“And she’s currently not speaking to any of you.”
The goddess had the grace to grimace. “No.”
245 ineligible #TeamRPG words
“Jesus, Danielle. What the hell am I supposed to do with this?” Jake said over the phone, adding a few more expletives characteristically. He called me right after I emailed my report to him.
“Not my problem, Jake. You hired me to do the digging. What you and the DNC do with it is up to you.”
Jake was responsible for vetting Senator Kyle Peterson, the likely Democratic candidate for president, on behalf of the Democratic National Committee. For that task he turned to me. I was very good at my job — digging up the dirt on candidates. Where there was dirt. And there usually was. The party needed to avoid any potential embarrassment if they chose to support Peterson.
“I trust you’ll do the right thing.” I left Jake with that thought before I hung up the phone.
“Hey, mom, where’s my stash?”
“Excuse me?” I looked at my sixteen year old daughter, Stephanie, with some suspicion.
Stephanie rolled her eyes. “Relax, MamaSan. I’m talking about my school stuff.”
I pointed to the hall closet. “Thanks for taking five years off my life, kiddo. This isn’t what I dreamed of when I checked the boxes on motherhood.”
Stephanie sighed. “When is Dad picking me up?”
“In an hour he said.” Stephanie’s dad was Jake. After a one-night stand he and I had in grad school. A mistake except for the result. Stephanie.
I answered the door when he arrived. “The party reached a decision,” Jake said, his face unreadable.
Elaine took a bite from her cake. The frosting was green and flavoured with lime. It was like being stabbed with an ice-pick, directly into her brain.
“You might want to avoid these,” she said, putting it down. “Our host was a little heavy handed with the flavouring. What’s the chocolate cake like?”
Anita shrugged. “It’s nothing special. It’s chocolate…but it’s still not right.” She chewed thoughtfully, searching for an adequate description. “You know that they say good chocolate’s better than sex?” She stopped and tried to swallow, grimacing with the effort. “This isn’t that good. I’d rather set about myself with an egg-whisk. Or a spatula.”
Elaine nodded, looking at the tray they’d been told to work through. They’d barely made an impression on it, the lime cupcake she’d baulked at still there, her tooth-marks marking it as hers to finish.
“This isn’t what I dreamed of,” she said. “I thought it would be easy, eating cakes and getting paid for it. When I saw the vacancy for a food-taster I thought all my birthdays had come at once. Who’d have thought it would be so difficult.”
Neither of them had tried the Christmas cake yet. Or the tiered one, covered with icing and marzipan. The arrangements were that they had to finish everything or pay a dollar for every piece. There were hundreds of cakes and just two of them and very little chance of a free lunch.
240 well-chewed bites ~ twothirdsrasta.blogspot.com
I looked at the remains of my house, a set of pilings that stuck out of the ground, and some debris scattered here and there. Most of it was gone. Completely gone. Everything in it was gone too. Washer, dryer, bed, computer, desk, gone. Even the 85 inch TV. Gone.
“This isn’t what I dreamed of,” was all I could say. All I could think, as I wandered among the scattered remains of my home.
It was supposed to be a beach house, although a small one, that sat 10 feet above the ground, so floods would pass beneath it. A house where I could sit on the front porch, and watch the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico every night. Where I could come home from work, change out of work clothes into beach clothes, and walk, barefoot on the sand, for miles.
It was supposed to be my dream home. The place I would spend forever.
A Category 2 hurricane wasn’t supposed to push half the gulf on shore, and then dump 30 inches of rain on top of it. It wasn’t supposed to put my house underwater, and the water wasn’t supposed to take my house with it when it left, leaving my kitchen, bedroom, and the rest somewhere in the gulf, where the fish could live in it, and slowly turn it into a new coral reef.
But the storm had happened.
And everything I had, everything I’d been. Was gone.
She stared around the room. Knotty pine paneling the color of old honey marched across all four walls. The linoleum on the floor might once have sported a pattern but now was the color of dried mustard with tiny mouse prints dancing over its surface. Faded green burlap curtains hung limply across the one window. A dresser leaned drunkenly in one corner, missing a drawer. Her gaze skittered across the double bed. The idea of pulling back the quilted and ruffled pink bedspread sent chills having nothing to do with her sexy companion up her spine.
Breathing shallowly, she skirted the bed and poked her head through the opening to the bathroom. There was no door. She’d boot her dinner if one, she’d eaten anything all day and two, there was actually a toilet. There was only a wooden box with a round hole, like an outhouse.
She turned when her guard snorted. He’d pulled back the bedspread and discovered a used condom.
“This isn’t what I dreamed of.”
“Babe, nobody dreams of this.” The outlaw biker set his saddlebags on the dresser and his clever fingers went to work. A moment later, he rolled out the sleeping bag over the bedspread.
Hugging herself, she asked the question that was at the root of her current situation. “Are we safe here?”
“More likely we’ll catch an STD or die of a spider bite or bed bugs than get caught by the bastards chasing you. I got this.”
“Good to know.”
250 random Nightrider words
Saffi Bashar lay backwards over one of the cannons scattered about her workshop, one foot hooked in overhead netting and the other laid over another cannon. Grinding the halves of a mortar shell against one another over her face, she let the metal filings drift like ash into her wild white hair.
Her commanding officer’s strident voice ricocheted through the remains of that morning’s creative storm. Without bothering to look up, Saffi began mentally counting the seconds until the captain achieved total meltdown. Some quick calculations led her to bet herself it would be less than five.
“Why are you out of uniform!?”
The squeak in Rashid’s voice was uncharacteristically unmanly for the captain. Saffi flopped over onto her stomach to peer down from her work platform at her superior, stuttering next to her discarded jacket and head covering.
“Meh,” Saffi resumed fiddling with her mortar shell. “I don’t like it.”
Rashid roared as if to raze Saffi’s workshop to the ground.
“And this! What is all this!? You said you could develop a ship mounting for arcane cannons! That is an arcane cannon!” Rashid pointed furiously out the window before kicking one of Saffi’s cannons across her workshop. “This isn’t!”
“What I dreamed of,” Saffi spread a hand before her, lost in her own vision, “Was even better than an arcane cannon! But you’re right, this isn’t it…”
Saffi tossed her mortar shell dejectedly to her commander, sending him scrabbling back out the door.
247 Cat’s The Pajamas words
This isn’t what I dreamed of when I researched the genealogy of my grandmother. I knew she had secrets but I never knew she had lies behind those secrets. Carefully woven secrets laced with half truths that would all come crashing down with searches of her name.
Yet the name she used was not her own. Who was this woman? I checked records and found nothing related to her. I googled her image and an article came up that she was a murderess. She had killed her son and then fled with her daughter to Canada. If she had been alive; they would have arrested her.
I felt bereft and wondered how this warm loving grandmother had done such a thing and I decided to go there and talk to anyone who was alive at the time. I went to the small town and managed to find a lot of people who were alive at the time. Many said they didn’t believe she had killed the baby. Then I talked to the minister who had long since retired. He told me the story of how her husband had beat her and the children and that on that fateful day the husband had killed the baby and blamed her. He was the sheriff and the minister had helped her flee. My grandmother was brave and she had found a new life. She was three times the woman I thought she was and I was proud to name her my grandmother.
Tell you what I want, what I really, really want…
I knew as soon as I looked at the size of the package that I’d been ripped off. There was no way they were going to fit a lap desk in an 11×14 envelope. I remember looking at the envelope and founding an even smaller paperboard box with instructions printed in pictographs.
I should have know the price was too good and that the delayed shipping would get it to me after the 30 day money back guarantee, but I didn’t see that until it was too late.
I looked at the meager offering – an ‘insert tab A into slot B’ wedge, and compared it to the adjustable desk that would have let me me sit or lounge with full access to my computer and everything I needed to work from the couch or bed. Hell, my laptop was bigger than the wedge thing they were trying to pass off as the next thing in home computing – a comfortable way to take your laptop to new heights.
Three emails later I was told that they were sorry I’d gotten the wrong desk but to make things easier for me they were willing to refund $3 and let me keep the non-functional, non-desk-like thing.
“This isn’t what you sold me, this isn’t what I dreamed of,” I answered. “Fix it, or say hello to the mail fraud.”
They apologized again, asking what I wanted.
“I want what I ordered,” I answered thinking, ‘and I want a cup holder.’
250 words (not including title)
The ghost of Val’s lips linger on mine, even as awareness replaces the fogginess in my sleep-riddled brain. I don’t remember much of the dream, but I can recall enough to trigger heat in my cheeks.
When I open my eyes, I have to resist the urge to jump back.
Val is close enough to touch, and at some point in the night I reached out to him, so that my hand rests on his arm. He’s deep asleep, and I scramble to slide farther away. In my rush to do so, I collide with Nevari behind me.
Though she remains asleep, she shoves me back.
“Sorry.” I mutter my apology and settle back into my spot between them. It’s a small room, but now it feels suffocating.
I can’t get back to sleep, and my thoughts keep going back to the dream. Even in the deepest trenches of teenage infatuation, this isn’t what I dreamed of – ever. I’ve never been the type to obsess over boys, let alone someone who is virtually a stranger.
Val shifts in his sleep, moving to lie on his back. He settles into the position with a sigh, lips slightly parted.
I shut my eyes, feeling like a creep. It’s just a crush, you’ll get over it.
The more I try to push the feeling away, the worse it seems to get. But I can’t let it go beyond a crush – not when I intend to leave this insane world and get back home.
250 ineligible #TeamRPG words
My Honeymoon, by Joseph P. Garland (@JPGarlandAuthor), 244 words
It was a pleasant flight. I left it to my bride to make the arrangements, and make them she did.
“I won’t tell,” she told me, “but pack shorts and sunblock.” Which is what I did.
A chatty cabby from the airport—“newlyweds-I-love-newleyweds-so-sweet-and-innocent-I-hope-you-have-a-good-time-on-our-little-island-when-are-you-leaving-I-will-give-you-my-card-and-take-you-to-the-airport-but-I-am-sure-you-will-be-sorry-to-leave-and-that-you-will-come-back-and-you-keep-my-card-so-I-can-again-take-you-to-your-hotel”—and when we were free of him we were quickly through the lobby and in our room.
It was dark, and we could not see the ocean, only hear its waves kissing the sand. The cabana itself was glorious, and a basket of tropical fruit and an icer with champagne greeted us when the white-uniformed bellhop led us in. We were tired after the wedding and the flight, so we had little of the champagne and were quickly in bed, both too tired to do anything but sleep.
It was dawn when I awoke, the sun bouncing off the ocean into the room through the open shades. Through the glare I saw my bride sitting in a chair staring out. She turned to me.
“This isn’t what I dreamed of.” They were her last words to me.
When I got the job working for Representative DeCosta, I thought I landed my dream job.
Walt hated the idea, and he told me that I would regret it, repeatedly.
I chalked that up to my new boss being a Liberal former College Professor, while he was a Conservative Farmer and Soldier.
I had no idea how right he would be.
I did regret taking this job, and I would regret taking it for the rest of my life.
All three minutes of it.
When I talked about my Capitol dream job, this isn’t what I dreamed of.
I never thought that my dream job would lead to my death – or that my political idol would kill me.
Yet, here we are, me slowly drowning in a vat of fertilizer looking up at my boss on the catwalk that she had just pushed me off.
“You stupid bitch,” Gabriella growled, “how long have you been snooping around my office. You’re working with your asshole brother to ruin me.”
“Chica, you ruined yourself. Using the FCA and CCAC to poison our land and ruin our communities, that was coming out, I just got it out sooner.” I answered, as I kept sinking.
I was neck deep in the muck, but I knew Peter would find me and bring me home, so I was not afraid.
My last words were my warning.
“The land hungers for blood, and thirsts for vengeance. I will rise again.”
This isn’t what I dreamed of. It’s falling down, and the floors aren’t safe. But it’s our first home. A working farm, where we can grow food on two acres and rent out the rest to an area farmer. Squeezing my husband’s hand, I put on my best smile.
“Well. It’s going to need some work.”
Jimmy squeezes my hand, his eyes scanning the area. Giant maple and pine trees dot the landscape, the hundred-year-old farmhouse situated at the end of a long gravel lane. The yard is overgrown with weeds and the garage is leaning, but it shows promise.
“We got a helluva deal on it and the land already has a renter, yeah? So we can put some of that money into the repairs,” I say, trying to keep my tone hopeful.
“Or we can knock it all down and start over,” Jimmy says, one skeptical eyebrow raising. “Do you have any concept of what this is going to cost?”
He groans but plants a kiss on my cheek. We’ve already upended our small Iowa community by being the only two out gay guys, might as well keep our streak going and fix up this old abandoned house. I pull him into a hug and jingle the keys at him, which makes him laugh.
“We have a door?”
“In theory, even if it’s falling off its hinges.”
We walk back to our car and retrieve our cameras. In a couple of years, this will be home.
She sat by the window watching the moon rise in slow motion in the half-light.
She thought about letting her hair down, running a hot bath and crawling into bed but she could’t stop herself.
Drawn in by the depravity, the thrill of being in control took her breath away and her thoughts quickly deflected back to the matters of the evening.
She whispered softly to herself “This isn’t what I dreamed of but the money… and being in control… and gawd the sex was unlike any thing she had ever experienced before and she made it happen… not them.
She slid into the lingerie and admired the metallic sheen as she ran her hands over her body. She stepped into the stiletto heels, draped the rain coat over her shoulders and readied herself to answer the knock at the door.
word count 141
@taforu on twitter
#ThursThreads Week 431 is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope to catch you next week.