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 432 of #ThursThreads, the challenge that ties tales together. Want to keep up each week? Check out the #ThursThreads #flashfiction 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 432:
Computer geek, bass player, historical reenactor, and flashfiction writer, Mary Decker.
And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
“What is all 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!
15 Replies to “#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 432”
I Cannot Believe, by JPGarland @JPGarlandAuthor, 178 words
“I must say that I find this disconcerting.”
“This.” She ran an arm across the room. “What is all this?”
“I am glad you asked.”
This was a lie. The one thing she did know was that he did not want her to ask and that he almost certainly did not want her to discover what was strewn about.
He paused, searching for an answer.
“I forget something and come home and find…this. What is it? I assume it’s yours.”
“Seriously. Just yours?”
“Yes. Just for me.”
She looked from him to the array and back.
He heard her on her phone in the hall.
“Yeah, something came up. I’ll be in late. Maybe two. Maybe later. I don’t know. I’ll call.”
She got back, noticing he had not moved a step, perhaps not a muscle, while she was gone.
“After all these years,” she said, shaking her head with her hands on her hips.
“After all these years, I cannot believe you are so bad at the makeup. Let me show you.”
I followed Mick into the room. I should have been in front of him, as the bodyguard duties had fallen to me tonight. I hadn’t a clue as to what was going on. Declan called, said to get my arse to Mickey’s place and to go wherever he went. As Declan was m’boss, I got my arse to Mick’s and five minutes later, we were in the car and now we were here at the fancy downtown Boston hotel walking into a side room like we owned the joint.
Mick stopped so I stopped, flanking him, my eyes roving over every nook and cranny lookin’ for trouble. Four men sat a table, spreads of cards in their hands. Mick planned to sit a poker game? A couple of mopes stood at the bar, and their hands had reached into their jackets the moment we entered. I smiled and they very carefully put all hands in view. Our reputation preceded us so we might get away with no bloodshed.
“What is all this?” Mick asked, his voice deceptively soft.
“None of your business is what it is,” one of the men barked.
I tilted my head to the bartender and he skedaddled out the service entrance. A woman rose from a small couch, all grace and ambition, her eyes glued on Mick. “Mr. O’Connor, how gracious of you to come.”
Viper, I thought, and deadly.
“Sean, you know what to do.”
Aye, I did. I put a bullet between her eyes.
250 random Moonstruck Mafia words
“I can hear you thinking,” she said. “It disturbs me. You speak in colours but without clarity. It’s like an aurora borealis inside my head.”
I pressed my back against Angelique’s. We were well-matched in height, but she was more muscular. I could see her in my thoughts in a dark gymnasium, wielding barbells, her body glazed with a sheen of sweat. She was alone and had her eyes closed, a fire of fatigue creeping through her. She would exercise to exhaustion and only then stop to rest.
“Stop it. Stop it now.” She pushed me away, dropping barriers inside her head. But she maintained our physical contact, seeking to see inside me instead. If anything, she drove even more firmly against me, the ridges of our vertebrae grinding together. I began to see her ‘voice’ as it snaked alongside my thoughts, smoke against sunlight, threading and dividing until it began to interleave with mine.
“Enough with that,” I said, grinning into the dark. “You’re getting better. Stronger. But you’re still lacking the subtlety you’ll need. You have to develop your mental jiu-jitsu, or you’ll always be bested by a more experienced opponent.” I drove her back with a casual demonstration of force, using finesse to pinch out each of the infiltrating threads before it could develop the agility to escape. I was beginning to feel smug, in fact, and that’s why I only had the chance to think ‘what is all this’ before the darkness fell in on me.
250 words ~ twothirdsrasta.blogspot.com
Death Needs a Hanky
It might come as no surprise that I can’t stand weeping men. Seen my share. Never pretty.
Once Irv Finecastle pulled himself together, declared his love for Mona Monterey, I let him know that I’d lied, that she was still alive and licking or ticking, or whatever it was that they did to each other in private. I then gave him the skinny. “It’s her mother, Helen, who’s bought the biscuit.”
“Farm,” I added, changing my euphemistic direction. Something more grounded in real estate might get to the point.
“As a clipped toenail,” I said, mixing metaphors, keeping him off-balance.
He slithered down again, his back against the rough stucco covering of the outer Real Estate office wall. You don’t see stucco much anymore. My attention was wandering. I’d add stucco to my list of terms to google.
It was getting quite long.
My reverie was interrupted by Finecastle’s moaning. I looked down. He looked up, said, “You don’t want to buy a property, do you? What is all this? Who are you?”
“That’s the pivotal question, Irv. You mind if I call you Irv?”
He nodded. “Whatever.”
“Fine. If you’re gonna go all philosophical on me you could call me René Descartes if you’d like.”
I mentally slapped myself. Irv was no quick wit. Maybe truth had some merit.
“I’ve been hired by your wife.”
“First it was shtupping Mona. Now it’s murder.”
“Yeah, Irv. That.”
There were porcelain pumpkins, hanging ghosts and wicked witches aplenty. Snack-size bags of Snickers, Milky Ways and more. Samantha sat on the floor amongst them, oohing and ahhing and wanting more.
She had things that went clickity-clack, and snickity-slack, and not to forget about the zombie scream and fog machine. Every day, boxes and boxes poured in.
The governor may have said no trick-or-treating, but this year the trick was on him. She stocked on masks, rubber gloves, individual candy bags and an extra long picker-upper thing-a-ma-gig that went snap.
But still, she wanted more. She scoured through Party City, Oriental Trading Company, Hot Topic and Spirit, trying to find the perfect magic to make 2020 turn around.
“What is all this?” her husband stood in her office doorway, hands on his hips, assessing the orange, purple and black explosion.
She covered a snicker from the unintentional Nightmare Before Christmas reference. He wouldn’t get it if she laughed. Maybe he was more like King Titan with Ariel’s hidden grotto of treasures.
“Halloween came early.” She offered him a Whatchamacallit, one of his favorite holiday treats.
With a sigh, he sat on the carpeted floor, his legs stretched out before him. “We can hang some lights, string fake spider webs and set some creepy distancing markers. Do you need more?”
He’s not too bad a guy, he has feelings as deep and sore and soaring as anyone else’s. Maybe even more so, we just don’t know. Few have ever seen them as he moved through the vacuum of his days.
The other day I caught him in one of his brooding moods, the ones maybe you’ve seen or you’ve felt. He broke through his 1,000-mile stare wall of self-imposed isolation to look up at me, half-grinned and raised his chin in greeting.
“What is all this?” I asked him. “Lately, you look like someone stole your puppy, your girl, last dime and boyish good looks all before breakfast.”
He hummed his shrugged-shouldered “humph” when I inquired how he was. And then he surprised me with “I’m sorry.”
“What are you sorry for? You haven’t done anything to me,” I said.
“I’m sorry because I’ve never expressed personal regrets for my sins and omissions, never cried at their funerals, never spoke up about how I truly felt, never professed my love to those I should have and never moved on from the ones I shouldn’t,” he said.
“Why are telling me this?” I asked.
“Because you’re the only one I can and that’s what I lament the most,” he said, as we turned away from the mirror, walked toward our bathroom door and switched off the light.
230 Brooding Words
“What is all this really saying, Danielle?”
I knew Jake was trying to hide his consternation as he read my report on Kyle Peterson, the junior senator from Virginia and likely Democratic nominee for president.
“He’s a scumbag, Jake,” I replied. “That’s what it’s saying.” Jake was my ex. Well, not exactly my ex, since we only had that one night together. And a daughter, Stephanie, who was now sixteen.
I was a political operative whose job it was to dig up the dirt on candidates. Where there was dirt. And there usually was. Jake hired me on behalf of the Democratic National Committee to vet the candidates in hopes of avoiding political disaster.
“Most of this is old news, Danielle,” Jake said. He was deliberately acting dubious about what my digging had turned up. But I knew he was searching for a way to save Peterson’s candidacy.
“Sorry, Jake. You’re not reading the fine print. The police report on Mrs. Peterson’s death included a reference to an autopsy, right? I did some more digging. Which is what I’m paid for by the way.”
“Yeah, okay. What’d you find, Danielle?”
Now that I had his attention I dropped the bombshell. “I got hold of the autopsy report, Jake, but no toxicology was done. I mean what the hell is that about?” I knew Jake could add two and two, so I waited.
“Are you telling me the coroner didn’t do one so no one would suspect Peterson of murder?”
The taste of copper filled Lena’s mouth. She pried her eyes open. The steady pulse of blue and red punctuated the darkness surrounding her.
Moving only her eyes, she surveyed the room. Once she realized she was alone, Lena pulled herself to sitting, careful to assess each limb prior to committing to its use.
Once she reached a sitting position bile rose in her throat. The room turned fuzzy.
“Alright, Lena. Snap out of it. What happened?”
The sound of her own voice calmed her nerves.
She let her eyes inspect the room more closely, taking in the broken furniture and scattered papers.
“What is all this?”
Snippets of memory floated to her. She had come here looking for . . . something. What? A photo. After she had paid the money, she’d been told the photo would be here. Obviously, it was a set-up. And obviously she had given. . . him? Her. Lena had given her more than she had bargained for.
Pain surged through Lena’s legs as she moved from sitting to hands-and-knees to standing. One file drawer remained untouched. Lena couldn’t imagine the photo would still be there, if it ever was at all.
As she searched, she kept one eye on the door. She wouldn’t allow anyone to catch her by surprise a second time. Of course, it wasn’t there.
She moved toward the door, opening it with a whisper. The corridor was empty. Her body began shaking as a voice called her name.
“Lena! You’re having that nightmare again.”
“Comin’ up.” Chem turned away with a small derisive smirk on her face.
Rochelle noted it as well because she raised her eyebrows at me. “Something wrong with my drink choice?”
I shook my head. “Not at all. It might be she has to make some fresh because we usually spike it.”
“Oh. I didn’t mean to ask for something extra. Although.” She turned and looked behind her at the various people drinking unusual concoctions. “Seems like there’s plenty of other extra going on around here.”
“Here’s your cider.” Chem held out another oddly shaped mug. It looked more like a beer stein and steam rolled off the top.
“Thanks.” Rochelle took it and sniffed. “Smells delicious.”
Chem nodded. “Should be. Grub made it fresh for you.”
Rochelle sipped. “Tell him thanks. It’s very good.”
Chem waved and moved away down the bar to help someone else. I followed her with my gaze, wondering what that had been about. No one usually cared who I brought to the Clubhouse. Of course, it was rare that I brought anyone at all. Maybe that’s it.
“What is all this, then?”
Rochelle and I turned to see Attila standing with Dollhouse and Loki, all of them fixated on Rochelle. I swallowed a groan and tried to find my patented stoic expression. Things rarely went well when Loki showed up. The Goddess had warned me I had until New Year’s to tell Rochelle about our relationship, but Loki rarely did anything expected.
248 ineligible #ConcreteAngelsMC words
The weekly report should have concluded an hour ago. The air in the stone chart room had grown hot and stale. Guard Captain Alec wasn’t particularly a drinking man, but found his thoughts wandering to a flagon of wine at the local dive.
“…Then I want pairs of guards supported by a golem every thirty feet. Twice that many at each entrance or exit.”
The corpulent capitalist across from Alec had sweat unpleasantly through his silk suit, papers and plans on the table sticking to his jabbing fat fingers. Lucretius paid Alec’s salary, so the younger man spent the last two hours dutifully listening to his employer’s outrageous security plans for the upcoming tournament. The flesh merchant was known for his cunning, but this time Alec just wasn’t seeing it. Unfortunately, this late in the briefing, Alec’s poker face must have cracked, because Lucretius saw through it.
“Is all this really necessary?” Alec gestured across the arena map. “What you’re asking for will shut down all of your enterprises for weeks to either side of the tournament. Are you expecting an invasion by one of the sultanates during the event?”
“Worse,” Lucretius steepled his fingers ominously. “The tournament is a trap for Cat N. Kinnery.”
Alec swallowed soberly, feeling as though all the heat had drained from the room.
“Shall I augment our forces with our usual mercenary companies?”
230 Cat’s The Pajamas words
“You’re the one that wanted to see what’s going on inside my mind, this wasn’t my idea.” I’d warned her, but she wouldn’t listen. No one ever listened. So, she’d insisted on the link, a small chip in her, another in me, and they talked to each other, and shared our dreams, our wishes, all the rest.
After a week, she was going all Fruit Loops on me, because of what she’d learned about me, and about the chaos I live with, and in, all the time. Every heartbeat, every breath, endlessly. “I did tell you I didn’t think it was a good idea.”
“I know. You did.” She looked at me like I was a complete stranger, someone she’d never met. “But I never expected anything like this.”
“You mean, you never expected anyone like me.” I don’t know why she didn’t slap me then, because I knew from that damn chip she wanted to.
She gritted her teeth, and I heard that chip screaming, “We have to talk! I have to fix you! Everything is all wrong!”
“What is all this?” She waved at her head, and then at mine, where I chips were. “What is all this stuff?”
“It’s the me I don’t show.” Yeah, that summed it up nicely. “The me I don’t let anyone see, because I know they can’t live with it.”
She started to talk, but I cut her off, “You know damn well there are reasons I take Prozac every day.”
The man was a saint they said up until the day he met me. He had a beautiful wife a son for his legacy, one to spare, and a daughter. He wasn’t happy; he wanted more. Money, power, and women throwing themselves at his feet. We made a deal he have it all if he signed on the dotted line.
He dared to summoning me complaining, “What is all this? My stocks lose money and party is attempting to eject me for corruption.”
“A simple over correction of the market and jealousy amongst your colleagues,” I answered.
He seemed satisfied.
A summons came a week later he complained his wife was leaving him and taking the kids. I told him that was probably for the best as he could replace her easily. He agreed took the kids leaving her penniless.
A month later I was back again. He complained he hadn’t summoned me. I assured him he had the deal was done. It was his time, he protested of course. I explained that he was part of a deal. He had a heartache and I gained his ex-wife’s husband soul. It seemed she wanted the kids and since he hadn’t changed his will, they’d have all his money. He complained it wasn’t fair but a deals a deal. I’ve got the deal of a lifetime for you reader all you have to do is sign on the dotted line. What no takers? There will be there’s one born every minute.
#ThursThreads Week 432 is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope to catch you next week.
The human mind is like a house, full of doors leading to rooms. Spring-cleaning keeps a home in good condition; the same goes for our minds.
That’s what we do: Clean houses.
Fannie Trumbull arrived wearing the same downtrodden face of every other client. They were all the same inside: Disappointed. Abused. Traumatized. Abandoned. No one ever came to Life Refurb because they were happy.
“Sit,” I instructed.
She gripped her papers in weathered hands, sliding into the chaise as I applied the required electrodes.
“It’ll be disorienting at first,” I said, picking up the control.
She nodded, eyes vague, lips trembling. She seemed weak of mind, old, forgetful.
I pushed the button and suddenly we were standing in the virtual foyer of her mind. She followed me as I explored the place, opening door after door, revealing a particularly drab nothingness. Cobwebbed and vacant, the shapeless rooms had no identifying marks whatsoever. As if they’d been cleaned before. A very long time ago.
I wondered if this was just age. Perhaps time itself had done its job too well.
Then I saw the door. It wasn’t native to the house, glowing darkly with sinister purpose. Definitely man-made. But placed by whom? And why?
It took a moment and a digital lock-pick to open it, but I managed. The chaos inside made me dizzy as pictures, music, emotions all bounced and danced in the too-small space.
“What is all this?” I blurted.
“Memories,” she said, suddenly smiling. “You found them!”