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 433 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 433:
Jersey Girl who pumps her own gas; romantic fantasy author with a Jungian soul, Stacy Bennett.
And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
“You’re getting better.”
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!
12 Replies to “#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 433”
I reached into my bag for the Glock and held it at my side as I made my way through the dark penthouse to the master bedroom and waited.
Kyle Peterson, junior senator from Virginia and likely presidential nominee, also waited. Hiding in a storage closet in the hallway, he could hear me turn the key and open the penthouse door.
“Ward? What the hell are you doing here?” Peterson looked flummoxed. There was just enough street light coming through the curtains to reveal it was me sitting in the bed, and not the senator’s wife. Peterson’s hand was shaking as he held the revolver.
“This Glock will tear you apart before you get off a shot, Senator. Put it down.”
“I have nothing else to lose,” Peterson said. “You’ve seen to that.”
My report to the Democratic National Committee was more than enough to derail his presidential bid. Suspicious involvement in a murder ten years ago and business dealings with foreign agents.
“Just doing my job, Kyle.”
“You’re getting better at it,” he smirked. “Too good.”
My job was vetting the candidates. Digging up the dirt where there was dirt. And there usually was. Squeaky clean Senator Kyle Peterson was hiding a bunch of things that would end his political career. He was right. He had nothing to lose. His wife left him. And he was prepared to do anything to keep her from going to the press. Even murder.
That’s when the shots rang out.
Dead Right is Often Wrong
I’d hit Irv Finecastle with a wallop of concerns. After his crying jag, I didn’t think he’d be all that chatty. He surprised me, though. Clearly my take on human nature was skewed.
“You’re getting better?” I asked. “More in control?”
He smirked like a kid who’d nicked a cookie from Mom’s cookie jar.
“Guys need control.”
He looked at me oddly.
“I’ve got mixed feelings. Glad Mona’s alive. Heartbroken her mother’s dead.”
“Not just dead. Murdered.”
“Right. So, what’s next?”
“I’m a private dick. Cops deal with murder. Your wife’s more interested in your young girlfriend.”
We went to a nearby café. They had Covid-safe outside tables. These little meal dispensing joints were falling like bowling pins since Spring. Sad really. Anyways, one table was available. A masked waitress with purple eyeliner came out and took our order.
Two coffees. One piece of lemon meringue pie.
“They make great pie here,” Irv said as he ordered.
I usually avoid eating sweets when discussing murder. It just doesn’t seem right, somehow. Still, it sounded good. “Miss,” I hailed, as she walked back into the café, “Make that two pies.”
She halted, spun around, showed me a ringed finger, said, “Mrs.”
“Apologies,” said I.
“On my third,” she added.
“Congratulations,” I said.
“Moron,” she said, and completed her pirouette.
“Charming,” I muttered.
“Phyllis is…often ornery.”
“You know her?”
I let it drop.
There was more to Finecastle than pie.
The sisters stepped back as Duncan pitched through the portal with a wet squelching sound. He rolled over and lay on the floor, gasping, covered in ectoplasm.
“Did you get it?” Valerie asked, crouching down. Ashley knelt beside him, cradling his head.
Duncan held up the prize they’d sought: a shard of rock, wickedly curved, arcane runes carved along its surface. Another weapon to fight… them.
Valerie took it with a soft smile. The portal wasn’t exactly time travel, wasn’t dimension-hopping — but a bewildering mixture of both. To wrestle with its mysteries strained body and mind to the point of breaking.
But it was the only chance they had.
“Getting difficult,” Duncan rasped, coughing up greenish ichor.
“Your time was shorter,” Valerie said, trying to be encouraging. “You’re getting better.”
“He’s getting WORSE,” Ashley said, eyes flashing with anger. “He can’t take much more.”
“I can go again,” Duncan wheezed.
“No.” Ashley said. “I am.”
Valerie rose. “The hell you are!”
“He’s going to die if he goes again, Valerie. We need those artifacts — but I won’t sacrifice Duncan’s life for them.”
“And I won’t sacrifice yours!” Valerie shouted. She hated the way it made her sound — but the words came out before she could help it.
Ashley’s voice was deathly quiet. “That’s not up to you.”
Her sister stroked Duncan’s hair. He had passed out.
“I’m going,” she said. “Whether you like it or not.”
Valerie drew a breath, and sighed.
“Okay. I’ll be waiting. Please be safe.”
250 words / @daniel_swensen
Sawyer gunned the engine. The Hurricane responded eagerly, the horizon dropping away. Another touch on the control wheel and the aeroplane began to slip sideways across the sky. It hardly seemed credible that he was here now, the ground thirty-thousand feet below, the single Rolls-Royce Merlin engine howling as it drank deeply from the tank of fuel behind him.
“What do you think,” he said, shouting to be heard, even though he was using the radio to speak to the man sitting behind him. “Do you think I’ve got the same stuff the greats had? The ones who flew these in anger back in the last war?”
“You’re getting better,” Hollins admitted grudgingly. “You’re still pulling back too hard on the control yoke. Although, the conditions here aren’t the same as they were back then. The air’s much thinner and the engine’s being overrun. And we’re still dangerously close to the stall speed.”
“You worry too much,” Sawyer said. He waggled the wings and sent the antique plane sliding toward Olympus Mons, raising a plume of dust that would take three days to settle to the plain below. They were safe inside the cockpit but the effect on the ground would be a cloud that would choke everyone but the staunchest of the Martian defenders, forcing them to wait out the storm the earthmen had created. The tribesmen at the mine would offer little resistance, especially when the marauders set upon them using the machine guns and cannons fitted onboard.
250 words ~ twothirdsrasta.blogspot.com
Jack watched the girl. “You’re getting better.”
“Whoopee.” The teen looked as sullen as she sounded.
“Someone has to do it.”
“Why me? I hate living here. It stinks. And the animals are nasty.”
“Life’s tough, kid.”
She squinted at him, judging. “You’re old.”
“Yup. I am that.”
“Waaay too old for my aunt.”
“And you’re a cop.”
“Nope. I might be a law enforcement official, but I’m not a cop. I’m the sheriff of Bandera County.”
“Whoop-dee-do.” She circled her index finger in a desultory motion.
The back door of the house banged and Justice appeared on the porch. “Sheriff Riggs? Is something wrong?”
“No, ma’am. Just happened to be in the neighborhood.” Jack automatically touched a finger to the brim of his Stetson. She skipped down the steps and strode toward him, comfortable in her plaid shirt, well-worn jeans and cowboy boots. Lord but she was a fine-lookin’ woman. His inner wolf stirred, rolled over, paws in the air, belly showing. The stupid beast wanted belly rubs. Truth be told, so did the man.
“Just happened to be in the neighborhood.” Justice favored him with an assessing look.
“He’s too old for you, Aunt Justice.”
“Don’t you have homework?”
“You told me to take care of the birds.”
“You aren’t done yet?”
Jack considered the consequences of getting between the two females, decided to step in. “My fault. I distracted her.”
“You are definitely a distraction,” Justice muttered breathlessly.
Jack grinned, his expression mirroring his wolf’s. Progress.
250 words on new #WIP: Fighting for Justice
Phinn woke in an opulent room, the walls draped with sumptuous tapestries depicting winter forest scenes. The bed had pristine white covers and four posts made from ash wood. A crystal chandelier hung from the center of the room and reflected the light streaming in the diamond-paned window.
What’s going on?
Where was he and how the hell had he gotten there? He tried to sit up but his body acted as if it hadn’t moved in months. He frowned as he abandoned the effort. He’d never been so stiff before in his life. He groaned in frustration and someone appeared beside the bed.
“Phinn? Oh thank the Goddess, you’re getting better.”
The woman speaking was beautiful. Dark hair and apple cider-colored eyes made his mouth water for more than a taste. He knew her from somewhere recently. She’d been wearing a hood, though now she wore a long woolen fawn-colored gown with trailing sleeves. Her hair was held up with jeweled combs that looks like birds in flight and he wondered if her tresses would be as soft as they looked if he released them.
“You are getting better, right?” She frowned and he realized he should say something.
Smooth, real smooth, man.
She shot him a flat look. “I realize it’s around Halloween, but there’s no need for the zombie act.”
225 ineligible #WIP365 words
Bartal Boros opened his eyes in absolute darkness. There wasn’t an inch of space between his nose and the hard wood covering him. Pronounced petrichor permeated the scent of mahogany. Slight stiffness in his limbs was lost in his crush of claustrophobia and rising panic. Where was he? What happened? He had to get out!
Bartal banged his fists against the coffin lid as hard as limited space allowed. He could feel the weight of the earth around him, but also something else. He braced himself and pushed. It was strangely like the time he wanted to move his armoire after the servants had left for the night. Getting things moving was the hurdle, but somehow, he knew he could do it.
The lid lifted! Bartal managed to sit and then stand, rending the coffin lid from its soft metal hinges and using it to push through damp soil that filled in around his legs. He finally broke the surface, choking, gasping, and clawing his way desperately from his earthy tomb. Crawling through empty white mist, Bartal hunched over fistfuls of dirt hunting the relief of open air he expected. His mind raced to explain all this. His breathing slowed and it made no difference.
“You looked bad there,” a wide-eyed pale peasant crouched by an iron lantern. “I’m glad you’re getting better.”
Bartal looked sideways at the strange man, feeling his face crack into a crazed grin.
“I have no breath!”
“Boy, you got some sharp teeth there!”
249 Cat’s The Pajamas words
“You’re getting better.”
“At what? I still haven’t spoke to him,” I whined.
“You were ill a long time it takes time to recover that kind of energy. It took me six months and I wasn’t sick that long,” my brother Tom professed.
I heard the door to my apartment open and the heavy tread I recognized as Robert’s walk in.
Tom quickly left.
“Sally, I miss you so much, “I heard Robert say and I smiled and hurried to his side.
Whispering in his ear I said, “I missed you too.”
He smiled and reached for me, then his arms fell to his side.
“I don’t know how much longer I can take this.” Robert declared, “It wasn’t your fault you were sick; but I want to be with you.”
“What do you mean?” I asked scared.
“You know exactly what I mean. I’m here to be with you tonight.”
Robert brandished a gun.
“We can’t be together. I’m sorry I should have moved on. Please if you ever loved me don’t take your own life. You need to move on find someone to love and have the children we should have had,” I begged.
Robert cried and put down the gun. I sent him to a grief counsellor.
Now I check in from time to time with him now and he doesn’t know I’m there; but that’s okay. He’s happily married with three kids and one day he’ll be mine again; until then I’m his guardian ghost.
I stare at the song, titled Healing, on the page, and try to keep what Sia said in mind.
Your magic is about intent. Intent and the music.
But so far all I’ve managed is a few notes before the bow slips from my fingers. The sound is less than pleasant and I can’t help my frustration. I can play entire movie scores from memory – why the hell can’t I get this damn song?
I wish the priestess was here with me now, instead of Valmong, with his bored look and impatient toe-taps. He won’t say it out loud, but I’m pretty sure he no longer thinks I can do magic.
And with every failed attempt, I can’t help but agree.
“One more try, and then we head back.” Guilt laces my words as I readjust the violin. The cut on the back of his hand mocks me, and I know I won’t be able to heal it.
“We can stay as long as you need.” Valmong wipes the boredom from his face, amber eyes approaching something like sympathy.
“It’s fine.” With a deep breath, I try to focus on the music, on the intent, on his hand.
For once, I make it to the end of the song. It wasn’t my best performance, but as the final notes fade, I open my eyes and check his hand, where a scab replaced the cut.
Valmong flexes it, the corner of his mouth tipping with a smile. “See? You’re getting better.”
250 #TeamRPG words
Lightning flies from my hand and The One True Death ducks. He shoots a purple laser at me and my horse drops a few hundred feet, catching me when I lose my grip on the reins and fall out of my saddle. My pelvis groans, and Horace floats down to meet me.
“We have some work to do, but you’re getting better. Destiny is a good catch.”
“Thanks,” I groan. “My pelvis begs to differ.”
Forgetting that she can hear my thoughts, I yelp when she tilts to the side and I slide. Horace laughs as she rights, and I slide back. I resist the urge to make a snide comment, lest she send me plummeting to earth.
“Now, let us work on your temper.”
Oh, that’s rich. My temper is legendary on the Dark Plane because the moment I get angry, storms form. I can throw a tornado from yards away. Lightning is my forte, but it’s the counter attacks I struggle against. We float back up and Horace nods his skull at me. I fire off lighting and here comes the laser.
She drops more gently this time and I fire off another shot, singeing his robes. He nods and I fire again, ducking his laser. This time, there are no painful drops into my saddle, and he claps his bony hands.
“Well done! More practice tomorrow!”
With that, he’s off, back to the Dark Plane. I’m off to my house to ice my pelvis.
#ThursThreads Week 433 is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope to catch you next week.