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 440 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.
Just a quick note: There will be no #ThursThreads next week due to the Thanksgiving Holiday.
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 440:
Scottish Word Slinger, Dauntless romance author, and #ThursThreads host, Siobhan Muir.
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And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
“Keep your little secrets.”
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!
14 Replies to “#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 440”
“Good. Okay, here’s what I want.” Matsuko raised her gaze to meet the goddess’s. “I want a comfortable home near the coast of the Wandalup Bay, not too big, but not too small, and in a place where it’s safe for a dragon to come and go in his natural form. And I want this house near a village, within easy walking distance, and a temple dedicated to you, as you’re one of my patron saints.”
I blinked. She was making conditions that would protect me. No one had ever done that before. Not even my blood-related family.
“I believe there is a temple dedicated to me in Dalup on the Wanda Peninsula. It’s coastal but relatively remote so a dragon wouldn’t be out of place.” Tekhne inclined their head. “What else?”
I raised my eyebrows. The goddess was feeling fairly generous.
“I want enough funds, in whatever currency makes sense, to live comfortably – that is, not scraping by every day and every year – for the rest of my life. Think of it as my own hoard that befits a dragon’s mate.”
Tekhne grinned. “I think that can be arranged. But what would a sorceress need a hoard for?”
Matsuko tilted her head and smiled. “Life, the universe, and everything.”
Tekhne snorted. “Very well, keep your little secrets, but your wish is granted. Anything else?”
“Just two more things. I want it to be known that I’m available to teach the local people about music and non-verbal communication.”
248 ineligible #TeamRPG words
Death and Brass Tacks
Mona Monterey and I tête-à-têted for an hour. She topped up my brandy twice.
“I loved Helen,” she emphasized. “Don’t get me wrong, but it was one of those situations…”
After two brandies, I needed specificity.
“I was her kid, but she was the child. She had me when she was fifteen. By the time I was ten, I was in charge.”
“In charge? Of what?”
She gave me a look, and maybe brandy made me more sensitive to ice-cold stares, that pretty much said, “on what planet do you live, Buster?”
Sometimes a dick needs to retreat.
“Okay, just because I LIKE to know everything doesn’t mean I need all the details to get the job done. Keep your little secrets. I’ll just tippy-toe around the edges of your mother’s murder and maybe get wise that way…”
Maybe it came out too harshly. Maybe I’d given her too much credit about her worldliness, her ability to take it on the chin. And we’d only known each other for an hour.
While Mona wasn’t exactly tearing up, she looked like she might go all dam busters on me.
Brother was I wrong.
“Okay, here’s the story. Helen was sixteen. Broke. With a yappy kid. Me. But she had a couple of assets. She was a fun girl. Woman. Beautiful. Men liked that. Some even paid.”
“And kept on paying,” she added.
I saw a big neon sign flashing MOTIVE.
They stood back, attitude and posture both defensive. The little spitfire marched up and down the sidewalk, her long skirt swirling from the wind and her agitation. Sunflower Magnolia Bloomsbury had her mad on and they didn’t know whether to laugh or run. A gust of wind caught the bright-hued skirt, lifting the flower-imprinted fabric to float around her thighs.
Luc stiffened. His friend and partner, Beau, tilted his head to get a better look. At least until Luc jabbed him in the ribs with a sharp elbow.
“Can’t help myself, bro. Who knew that little thing had such long legs hidin’ under those weird skirts of hers.”
“Nobody’s getting up her skirts but me, asshole.”
Beau grinned so wide his dimples peeked out. “I figured. Now, what are we gonna do about this?” He gestered toward the still-fuming woman, who caught them watching. She marched up and halted in front of Luc. Even rocking up on her toes, as she was currently doing. put the five-foot nuthin’ woman’s eyes at about his chest.
“Are you going to tell me?”
He shook his head.
“Well, fine then. Keep your little secrets. I don’t care.” Sunny crossed her arms under her breasts, drawing the eyes of both men to her suddenly upgraded cleavage.
“Not exactly little,” Luc muttered to Beau. Nope. When they shifted into their wolves, there was nothing little about them. And the fact they—and their kind—existed at all was a huge, honkin’ secret.
250 Cajun Wolf WIP words
Never fails. Hit send, catch the typo! *gestered* = gestured. I can spell. My fingers obviously can’t. ??♀️
The flock of quail scattered to the sky and feathers floated to the earth as Mia’s arrow found its mark. The rest of the hunters waited in silence as Mia padded out to pick up the bird. Half-way across the open field, she stopped and raised her hand to the rest of the hunters.
Ducking below the tall grass, she wove her way back to those waiting for her. Grabbing Troi’s arm, she caught her best friend’s gaze.
In a low voice Troi said to the group, “Everyone to the keep!”
“Your little secrets are going to get us all killed, Troi.”
Mia couldn’t control the quiver in her voice.
Troi cut her eyes at Mia and hissed, “Not here.”
The two trailed behind the others. After assuring everyone had made it inside, they shuttered the gate behind them. Troi shouted a warning of impending trouble to the guards.
“Troi, this is what happens when you steal from Mortimer’s farm. You have to stop.”
Troi’s eyes flashed. “I steal so we can eat. What do you suggest I do?”
Mia returned Troi’s glare, “You know my suggestion. Barter.”
Their conversation was interrupted by yells at the gate.
Mia turned to Troi, “Fix it.”
With head held high, Troi climbed the parapet which overlooked the gate. Catching Mortimer’s eye, she held her white scarf high.
A light shone in Mortimer’s eyes. He and Troi both knew she’d have to finally give in to his demand that she marry him.
Robyn lifted his chin. She smiled, giving him her warmth. She felt uncomfortable wading in the water, her feet finding sudden voids in the lake’s bed. The life-preserver she was wearing helped but she was still anxious, the altered marine unknowable and strange.
“It’s a pleasant day,” she said, splashing alongside him. “The sky’s clear and it’s over a week since it rained. I’m taking some leave soon and I’m planning a few days in Scotland. I love to climb hills, follow nature trails and drink whisky. It’s what this girl loves: getting away from everything physically and mentally.”
Corporal Jones said nothing. He just stared back. His psionic implant had gone quiet, his looming thoughts dark and impenetrable. His tail switched slowly from side to side, easily keeping up with her. His gills pulsed but other than that he could have been asleep, his body maintaining position alongside her.
“You’re not saying much,” Robyn continued. “I know, you like to keep your little secrets. The Official Secrets Act: it’s all you people talk about. I bet you’re not even called Jones. It sounds like a made-up name if you don’t mind me saying. Not that it matters, of course. It’s enough that we have this time together.”
Corporal Jones said nothing. He was surveying the temperature gradients in the water. His augmented musculature could drive him at speeds up to thirty knots, his titanium teeth capable of gnawing through steel. He was thinking about prey, for some strange reason.
250 words ~ twothirdsrasta.blogspot.com
“What are you going to do?”
Quavering voice, elevated pulse and respiration. Silencer savored the fear of the knight suspended naked from the rafter in front of him. The masked assassin made no sound but allowed his prey to feel the intensity of his gaze on his back.
“Look, let me go and we can forget this ever happened! I haven’t even seen your face; I couldn’t hunt you down if I wanted to!”
Silencer suggestively scraped one blade over another.
“Oh God! Somebody save me!”
Commotion from the other side of the door next to Silencer. Two knights had been searching for their fellow since he hadn’t shown up for duty that morning. The assassin slit both their throats as they burst into the room. Their momentum carried them forward to crash on the floor with his prey’s fleeting hope.
“I, I’m the commander’s aide! I’ve been to all of their war meetings; I’ll tell you anything you want to know!”
After a hellish year, only one bit of business remained. Silencer wasn’t one for optimism, but his heart felt lighter at the prospect of turning this last corner and just maybe moving forward again.
“Keep your little secrets,” Silencer set a blade against his prey’s calf. “This is personal.”
211 Cat’s The Pajamas words
“Keep your little secrets,” my boyfriend of two weeks said, but I suspected he didn’t mean it. I’d been receiving so many texts I ignored that he couldn’t.
The truth was something I didn’t want to share; my parents demanded my return home immediately. They wanted me to marry the husband of their choice but he had to be of our culture. I knew my reckoning was coming.
“Dorie? I’ll see you tomorrow,” Jarrett cried kissing me on the cheek.
I watched him go wondering if I’d ever see him again. I waited in the dark knowing they could arrive at any minute. At the stroke of midnight, they appeared surrounded in light.
“Eudora Trevallyan you were summoned,” my father sadly said.
“Your king summons you and you don’t answer,” my mother complained.
“I won’t marry anyone.”
“You’ll do as your king and father commands,” my father ruled.
In the blink of an eye my father had transported us to the palace. I was taken to a room robed in a wedding gown and veil and brought to an altar. I would refuse I vowed. I gasped in surprise as it was Jarrett who stood beside me. He winked at me and smiled and I found myself agreeing to marry him. He wanted the same things; we were a perfect match. One day we’d live in our kingdom and be the rulers their King and Queen; but for now, I could live with Jarrett and experience the life I wanted.
The spirit in front of me is six feet tall, muscular, with short brown hair and brown eyes. The football field where he collapsed is filled with worried parents, teammates and paramedics. The best we can hope for is that someone in his family can take him into the afterlife.
“Look, I just have some concerns, okay?”
“Such as?” I ask, finishing my soul-severing scythe swing.
“Stuff that shouldn’t be spread around school.”
A wail rends the air, and his Mom falls to her knees. His eyes fall on one cheerleader. Her black and blue hair frames her face. I suspect I might know what secrets we’re talking about.
“Well, Maddie…it was a bet. She’s not really, uhm, the type, if you know what I mean?”
I glance back at Maddie. She’s a little plump, but she’s not—
“You think she’s fat?!” I screech and he jumps.
He gestures toward her. “Her thighs touch, you know? But I like her. She’s nice and we didn’t go all the way. But they have to think we did.”
I don’t miss being a teenager. I won’t smack him, because, while he’s an asshole, he’s watching his body get rolled off the field, in full view of the stands. A sheet is held over the stretcher, by several players and coaches.
“You can keep your little secrets. But you’re an asshole for thinking she’s fat.”
When it’s obvious no one is coming to get him, I shove him into Limbo. Serves him right.
“You’ve got one day, Jake. I won’t keep your little secrets any longer than that.”
Dani’s parting words echoed in Jake’s mind all through the late afternoon and evening. Sleep was elusive. Guilt was palpable.
At the time, he thought leaking the story about Alvarez was the right thing to do. The congressman was the front runner for president and Jake had information that would sink his campaign. Information that Alvarez had links to foreign operatives. Business dealings that were questionable at best.
Now he questioned his own motives. He questioned the facts contained in the State Department dossier on Alvarez. Could someone or some nefarious group be behind it?
“This better be good, Jake,” Mark Campbell said when he answered his phone. “Do you realize it’s 3 a.m.?” Campbell was a veteran reporter for the Washington Post.
Jake checked the alarm clock on his night table. Yes it was the middle of the night. He’d lost track of time. Worse, he’d lost his sense of ethics.
“I need you to run a retraction, Mark. The story on Alvarez is bs. The whole freaking dossier is bs.”
“You can’t be serious, Jake. It’s too late. The story’s gone viral all over social media.”
Jake put his face in his hands. What was he going to tell Dani? His career as a political operative was over. And Dani, the love of his life, well, that would be over too.
He reached into the night table drawer where he kept the revolver.
I hunch over the notebook, bringing my face much too close to the page, straining to see in the dying light of the fire. Careful not to tip the inkwell over, I dip my quill and try to get one more line of the song done.
“I’m surprised you can even see in this lighting.” Val comes up behind me. “Writing anything good?” I startle when I realize how close he is, and pull the book close to my chest.
“It’s rude to read over people’s shoulders.” My face reddens, and though it’s dark I know he can see the blush rising in my cheeks. I’ve never liked showing others my original music, let alone anything unfinished.
“Fine – keep your little secrets.” He moves to sit on the other side of the fire, waving his hand at my book. “As long as it’s not some volatile song that will backfire on us.”
“It won’t.” At least, I hope it won’t. The music I write, as I’m writing it, is as much a secret to me as it is to him.
180 #TeamRPG words
Not What I Expected
You keep your little secrets,
In a jar by the door,
They litter your life
So you tried to round them up
But you can never keep them straight.
The big secrets, those have a way of getting out
And then life is never the same.
Your little secrets make you feel safe
Make you feel kind
But the real secrets,
Those are the ones that could kill
So you keep your little secrets,
Where everyone can see
While you go on safari
To hunt the big ones down.
They lie in weight
Too massive to ignore
They lie in time
Fading in and out of sight.
The little secrets won’t kill you
But they can hurt you just the same
It’s the big ones that shatter
It’s the big ones that break
So you hunt them in the dark
Knowing you can’t outrun the truth.
146 words – not including the title
#ThursThreads Week 440 is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week. There will be NO #THURSTHREADS next week as it’s the Thanksgiving holiday. Catch you in two weeks.