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 437 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 437:
College professor, equality enthusiast, and romance author, Louisa Bacio.
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And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
“What the hell does that mean?”
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 437”
Justice stared down the two men. The bikers should have intimidated her. They didn’t. Between her military stint and working with a bunch of guys at the fire department, she was used to being the token woman. Until she proved herself. She didn’t back down. From anything or anyone.
“You need to get off my property.” Low, forceful voice. Eyes focused on the scruffy jerks. Hell Dogs. She wanted to roll her eyes. She’d encountered some real bikers back in June in the aftermath of the tornado. The Nightriders pretty much scared everybody spitless, but they and that SpecOp team riding with them rescued Pops, Elena, and the girl they’d fostered.
“Angel says he likes this place and wants it.” The larger of the two bikers smirked.
“My ranch isn’t for sale.”
“He don’t plan on buyin’ it, bitch. You need to clear out.”
“No.” Her fingers flexed on the Mossberg 12 gauge shotgun she held out of sight behind the porch post.
“What the hell does that mean?”
“Exactly what I said. Not only no, but hell no. Now get off my property.”
The big one swaggered forward a few steps. Justice shifted just enough to lift the shotgun and pump it. She had six shells, a combo of heavy shot and slugs, and she never missed what she aimed at. The shorter biker’s head jerked and he turned to look toward the road. She caught the sound then. Sirens. She smiled. Her favorite sheriff was on his way.
250 Fighting for Justice WIP words
Stepping through the door of the little grocery always felt like being transported into the Faerie Realm, where it was always warm and things tended to sparkle. Grace was pretty sure it was just her childhood imagination getting the best of her, but she breathed a sigh of happiness she hadn’t felt in years.
“Why, Ms. Grace. How delightful to see you.” Gemini waltzed from one of the aisles with a wide smile. She’d gathered her long hair into a ponytail and it fell in a long, wavy cascade of various reds and pinks down her back. “It’s been far too long.”
Grace matched her smile as she accepted a sparkly, cookie-dough scented hug. “It has. I’ve been missing the Warbler Peninsula so much. I had some leave coming and I haven’t been to the cabin in a while, so I thought, what the hell?”
“Does that mean you’ll be staying awhile?” Gemini wore hope as Grace selected one of the little shopping carts from the stack near the front.
Grace shook her head. “Unfortunately, no. I only have a week of leave before I have to get started on a new assignment. But I wanted some legit downtime to get my head on straight.”
Gemini nodded sagely. “It’s always good to start projects with a clear head, for sure. You’re not going somewhere dangerous, are you?” Worry creased her forehead and crinkled the edges of her lavender eyes.
“Not for a while, I think.”
245 ineligible #WIP365 words
death: lower case
I was impressed with the loyalty shown to Irv by his millennial daughter/secretary, Gladys.
Consigned to glacier-like glares, unable to schmooze my way into her questionable good graces, I retreated mask in hand, breathing the toxic, hopefully not Covid adulterated air of my pleasant community.
I felt the urge to drive to the mountains, escape the clutter and disease of the city.
I have this urge often.
Never act on it.
I get too high in the mountains, my nose bleeds.
Always had weak nostrils.
Instead, I called my answering service. I know what you’re thinking. Answering service? Who does that anymore? The answer: ME. I’m a throwback. To a simpler time when a disembodied voice kept track of your messages, your loves, your life.
Marci Slattery runs an in-home daycare and was an early client, a small matter of a door-to-door home maintenance huckster. I tracked that sucker down quickly. Returned the cheque to Marci. Then we got to yakking, discovered we were both fans of the late film comedienne, Judy Holliday, and especially her final film, Bells are Ringing.
You guessed it: Judy played an answering service operator.
“Any messages, Marci?”
“Two. Your client, Effie Finecastle, says you’re fired.”
“What the hell does that mean?” I yelled.
“Don’t swear,” Marci said. “The children might hear you. And you bloody well know what it means.”
“Sorry. And the second?”
“Irv Finecastle. He wants to hire you.”
It was surely one crazy world!
The Essentials of Escape and Evade
Our assignment had been easy – watch The Crew, get what evidence we could but don’t engage. Then Niko and the triplets had gotten nabbed and everything had gone to hell. The Crew had taken them into their compound where we could do nothing for them.
That’s when Geoff had come up with the brilliant idea of getting captured. Granted we could do a lot more damage working with Niko and the Trips inside, but now we were stuck in the crew’s twisted game of hide and go seek.
They gave us three hours to scour the junkyard for parts and then all we had to do was escape… easy right?
Seven guards, three seekers, two guard dogs; it had taken us three cherry bombs Niko had snuck in, a super-soaker filled with paint, and one questionable tuna fish sandwich to get to the wall and when we were just about to slip out of the arena the triplets groaned.
“Does that mean we aren’t out of this yet?”
I could hear the disappointment in the their voices. I’d been working with them for a week now and I’d gotten used to them trading off in the middle of a sentence or thought, but their tone told me things were bad.
I took over Geoff’s position and sighed. “Yep, this has gone from annoying to big trouble.”
“How?” Niko demanded.
I sighed, flopping to the ground with my back to the wall. “Truant officer.”
249 words (not including title)
The axe left a long trail in the snow as Riann dragged it behind her. She searched the forest for the perfect tree. Unsure what she was looking for, she knew she would recognize it when she saw it.
A twig snapped, making her stop. Swiveling her head in every direction, she gazed intently through the trees. As she let her eyes move across the forest tree by tree, she noticed something odd. About three feet above her head, claw marks ripped the trunk of the large tree beside her.
“What the hell? . . . does that mean? . . . Surely not.” She was unable to find her words.
Riann reached up and grazed the marks with her fingertips. Whatever had made them stood much taller than she.
“Okay, Riann, it’s time to get out of here.”
Her voice was swallowed by the silence that surrounded her. Her heart drummed an ominous beat that echoed in her ears. Her thoughts captured again by the warning sign by the road. She had assumed the skull and crossbones was posted by an overzealous landowner. But now, she wondered if she shouldn’t have heeded the warning.
Hefting her axe to her shoulder, Riann moved with care through the woods. Stopping at another noise, she paused, back against a tree. Axe raised, she moved with caution.
There was the sound again. Close. Riann spun around, axe swinging. Horror gripped her. Forward momentum swung the axe. His laughter sliced in two.
“You seriously don’t expect me to leak this to the press, do you Jake?”
I rolled my eyes even though our conversation was taking place over the phone.
“Dani, listen. The party wants Kyle Armstrong. This story will derail Alvarez’s campaign once it goes public.”
I was really getting pissed. Jake worked for the Democratic National Committee and he hired me to dig up dirt on Congressman Tom Alvarez, the leading candidate for the nomination in the presidential race.
“So they want me to expose Tom Alvarez’s wife as a foreign operative? Based on what? A phony dossier? We both know it’s a bunch of crap.”
I was the best political operative they had. It was my job to dig up the dirt on the candidates where there was dirt. Before the party committed to support them. But this time was different. They wanted someone other than Alvarez and they were willing to destroy the promising political future of a young congressman to get their way.
“I’m not doing it, Jake. Find someone else.”
Jake didn’t say anything for what seemed like an eternity. I knew he didn’t like this any more than I did.
I tried again. I hated to see him sacrifice his ethics. Jake and I had a history together. And a daughter. Though we weren’t together now, I still had feelings for him.
“Jake? Come on, I know you hate this.”
He finally answered me. But it wasn’t what I was hoping to hear.
“I’m sorry, Dani. I called the Post. It’s done.”
Bartal Boros swirled his goblet under autumn stars, savoring the rich earthy scent and his memories of fine wine. Though his senses were sharper in undeath than they had ever been in life, his actual experience of food and drink had become disappointingly muted. These days, the human magnate turned vampire pirate drew greater pleasure from watching his pale companion eat and imbibe than from his own subdued sampling of their shared fare. A mere prelude to when he would drink his man’s blood later that night.
Deacon Butler’s austere upbringing had left him uneducated as to the advantages of lavish living. The last seventeen years had been spent correcting that. Bartal enjoyed seeing the half elf’s transformation from peasant to connoisseur every bit as much as the effect it had on his blood. At last, Deacon dabbed his mouth, pushed away his plate, and looked into Bartal’s eyes while they waited for the meal to digest. The flickering candle on their small table, brought up to the main deck, reminded Bartal of Deacon’s lantern the night they met.
“I was talking to the first mate,” Deacon swirled his own goblet, feeding night fire burning in his eyes. “He says all the major countries recognize marriages performed by captains. We could make it official.”
Bartal indulged his mate’s ardor with a cavalier shrug.
“What the hell.”
“Does that mean, yes?”
Eyes locked, Bartal slipped a ring over the first knuckle of his man’s finger.
245 Cat’s The Pajamas words
I first saw her when I picked up Daniel Collins, her husband who’d suffered a heart attack. Dierdre called the authorities who pronounced him dead. I was curious about her, so I returned a few minutes later to her calmly making funeral arrangements. She wasn’t sad at all. It was straight forward Daniel had treated her badly, now she was a rich widow she could do whatever she wanted. I went about my business returning a year later. It wasn’t her time; I was compelled to meet her.
Floating down I bumped into her outside a restaurant.
“What the hell does that mean?”
“Sorry about that,” I apologized flashing a smile.
“Can I buy you a coffee?”
“Sure,” she answered.
We lingered over coffee. I found myself wanting to see her again and I invited her to meet me for dinner the next day.
I told her the truth that I was Death and Dierdre laughed and then when I showed her that I was picking up someone at our dinner she believed me and thanked me for taking Daniel. Then asked if it was her time I said no and Dierdre asked if she could join me in the job and marry me. I agreed; so now I have a partner. Dierdre loves the job so it’s much easier now. Deirdre has consented to marry me should I be worried? No, it’s not like she killed Daniel, now did she? And I’m Death after all.
The neon light stuttered. Red, green, yellow, blue. The sign flared through the rain, the wall of water strobing with squares, circles, and triangles. There was a message behind the symbols, if only he could understand it.
“What the hell does that mean?” Wilson rubbed his eyes. He was sure it was something important.
“Maybe it’s an advertising? A hoarding for drugs. I could do with some painkillers or something stronger. A medicinal bliss to lift my soul up to heaven.”
“No, it’s not that. There’s no escape from Hades.”
The pair looked up at the city; its disproportionate grandeur making them feel even smaller than they were. The archway before them towered up and over, the closing of its arc out of sight. There were thunderclouds and lightning and angry hail, showering down onto their heads. They had never believed hell could be cold: it was meant to be an inferno with demons, not at all like this place.
This place was like home but without the softening of mercy.
Bran lifted his pack, slinging it over his shoulder. There was no future standing still in an eternal wasteland.
“Let’s walk on,” he said. “We’ve nothing better to do.”
200 words ~ twothirdsrasta.blogspot.com
Behind me, the steps draw closer and my panic mounts. I need to hide, but I don’t know if the doors down this hallway will put me in more danger. I’m about to pick a random door when an arm comes around my waist and pulls me behind a curtain.
Before I can scream or struggle, Valmong’s face comes into focus, his finger over his lips. My body goes still as we listen to the steps round the corner. He pushes the curtain aside slightly, letting us see as the hulking pair walks Nevari’s unconscious body down the hall. They look vaguely human, but each with distinct animalistic qualities. The one leading is covered in multicolored scales, the other with bushy fur.
“Careful, the boss doesn’t want her harmed.”
“He doesn’t want her memory harmed. He said nothing of her body.”
They sound like a single entity, impossible to tell the difference between voices.
“True. We can still have our fun without hurting her mind…”
Anger laces Valmong’s voice as he whispers. “What the hell…”
“Does that mean what I think it means?” I can only barely contain my own fury, and all that keeps me from making myself known is Valmong’s iron grip.
The monsters continue down the hall, taking the door a few yards down from our hiding place. As soon as the door closes, I run after them.
“Wait!” Valmong’s voice is a hiss.
“No – we can’t lose them.” My panic turns into something else. Something worse.
250 #TeamRPG words
#ThursThreads Week 437 is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope to catch you next week.