#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 442

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 442 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 442:

Virginia Nelson

Paranormal romance author, Cat wrangler, and whimsical painter, Virginia Nelson.

Facebook | Twitter |

And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.

The Prompt:

“Not sure what you 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!

13 Replies to “#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 442”

  1. A Blackmail Plague on Their Houses

    I sensed that Mona and I were finally getting on the same page. Our employee/employer relationship might not turn into a novel, but all the elements were there for at least a steamy short story.

    She seemed ready to move past mistrust.

    “Fire away,” I directed, “from a safe socially appropriate distance, of course.”

    “Should we be wearing masks?” she asked.

    “My bad,” I admitted, and donned my well worn N95.

    “I haven’t been going out all that often,” she said, wrapping a bright yellow scarf around her sallow face, adding, “but I’ve had visitors…”

    “Not sure what you mean. What visitors? Irv? Your mom?”

    “Yes. Both of them. Often. But others. Because of Mona…her craziness?”

    I was getting confused by her storytelling.

    “What others?”
    “That’s what I was trying to tell you. By the time I was ten, I knew my mom was out of control. I think she knew it to. Especially when I sat her down and insisted on knowing what was going on.”

    “You sat her down?” I quizzed, simultaneously amused and saddened by the image.

    “I cried. She cried. I suppose I was precocious. I let her know that I needed something that she wasn’t giving me…truth about her money, her drugs, her lovers. I was ten but I was no fool…”

    “And what did she do?”

    “Told me everything. That she slept with men. With women. That they gave her things. Sometimes willingly. Sometimes not.”

    “Blackmail?”

    “Oh yes!”

    250 WIP
    @billmelaterplea

    1. Oops, had to make a correction…Please use this version…

      A Blackmail Plague on Their Houses

      I sensed that Mona and I were finally getting on the same page. Our employee/employer relationship might not turn into a novel, but all the elements were there for at least a steamy short story.

      She seemed ready to move past mistrust.

      “Fire away,” I directed, “from a safe socially appropriate distance, of course.”

      “Shouldn’t we be wearing masks?” she asked.

      “My bad,” I admitted, and donned my well worn N95.

      “I haven’t been going out all that often,” she said, wrapping a bright yellow scarf around her sallow face, adding, “but I’ve had visitors…”

      “Not sure what you mean. What visitors? Irv? Your mom?”

      “Yes. Both of them. Often. But others. Because of Helen…her craziness?”

      I was getting confused by her storytelling.

      “What others?”

      “That’s what I was trying to tell you. By the time I was ten, I knew my mom was out of control. I think she knew it to. Especially when I sat her down and insisted on knowing what was going on.”

      “You sat her down?” I quizzed, simultaneously amused and saddened by the image.

      “I cried. She cried. I suppose I was precocious. I let her know that I needed something that she wasn’t giving me…truth about her money, her drugs, her lovers. I was ten but I was no fool…”

      “And what did she do?”

      “Told me everything. That she slept with men. With women. That they gave her things. Sometimes willingly. Sometimes not.”

      “Blackmail?”

      “Oh, yes!”

      250 WIP
      @billmelaterplea

  2. “Not sure what you mean, Robyn.”

    “No sure how to say it plainer, Suzi. He won’t talk to me.”

    “Not sure he can.”

    “Now I’m not sure what you mean.”

    “I don’t think he can talk.”

    “You mean he’s mute?”

    “Something like that. I’ve been dating Drummer for a month and I’ve never heard Batman say a word.” Suzi glanced around the bar and lowered her voice. “It’s kinda creepy if you ask me.”

    I leaned back in my chair and covertly watched the man who’d captivated me at first sight. He could hear. I was positive of that by just watching him.

    “You know there’s a reason they call him the Dark Knight, right?”

    I tilted my head toward Suzi but didn’t divert my gaze. “Why’s that?”

    “He’s the club’s enforcer.”

    “Yeah, so?”

    She thumped me so hard it hurt, pulling my attention to her. “Enforcer.” She enunciated every syllable. “He hurts people, Robyn.”

    I looked back at the bar. Batman had disappeared. “Need I remind you the Nightriders are an outlaw biker gang.”

    “MC,” she quickly corrected. “Motorcycle club, not a gang.”

    “Then why freak because he’s an enforcer?” I put air quotes on the word.

    She huffed and jumped up. “I’m gonna find Drummer.”

    The chair beside me scraped as Batman sat down. “Don’t say much, do you?” He arched a brow in reply. “What’sa matter, cat got your tongue?” Something feral flickered in his eyes. Right before he kissed me. Sometimes, a man didn’t need words.
    ****
    250 Nightrider Christmas story WIP words
    @SilverJames_

  3. Morana tapped her foot in impatience. It was a quarter past seven and Pauley was late and hadn’t called either. Looking at her watch again, she heard her name called just as she turned to leave.

    Turning back around, she scanned the crowded street until her eyes found him. When they made eye contact, he ducked his head. Morana knew he wasn’t bringing good news.

    “He already left, didn’t he?”

    “I’m not sure.”

    “What you mean is, you ARE sure, but you don’t want to say. Right?”

    Pauley flinched at her harsh tone but nodded his head. He hated being the one who had to give Morana the news. She never took it well.

    Her face turned to steel as she delivered her next words, “Tell your pot-bellied, elf-loving, cookie-eating boss,” she emphasized each of her next words with a poke to his chest, “my boss will not stand for this.”

    Pauley lifted his chin and straightened his back, meeting Morana’s gaze with renewed strength. Nobody bad-mouths his boss and gets away with it.

    “Tell that fork-tongued, goat-horned, baby-scaring Pan-wannabe that he knows what time we start. If he wants to tag along, he’s gotta get there on time.”

    Morana’s face went red with anger as she spat her words at him, “How will all those little cretins know they need to behave if my boss isn’t there to scare the shit out of them?”

    Pauley gave Morana a big smile and shrugged, “That’s for you to figure out.”

    @TeresaMEccles 249 words

  4. The skin was pale and distended and marbled where it had stretched. The flesh beneath was hard to the touch. I could trace the shape of a head if I pressed more firmly, the creature inside turning away as though ashamed.

    “Well, you said you wanted children but couldn’t afford to miss the time from work. I worked something out. I spoke to the shaman.”

    Dax looked pleased with himself. He’d got that grin on his face. He was sitting at the foot of the steps, his back against the cellar wall. I’d been bound and incapacitated when I woke up a few minutes ago. We’d only kissed for the first time last night.

    What had he done to me?

    “It’s going to be twins. Two boys. They’re not going to be identical, but they’ll be close. Closer than brothers could ever be.”

    The shaman stuck me with a needle, a sudden pain flaring and then ebbing away. My arm became numb, my fingers weakening. My hand grew heavier and fell to the floor, my head tilting back until all I could see was the ceiling. There were spiderwebs lacing the gaps between the beams, the glassy eyes of their occupants watching me.

    “I’m not sure what you mean.” My lips were not my own, my voice slowed like a gramophone record played at the wrong speed. The pendant lamp without a shade began to dim.

    “You need a good night’s sleep,” Dax said. “You’ve got a big day tomorrow.”

    250 words ~ twothirdsrasta.blogspot.com

  5. “I am only saying that it seems strange to me.”

    “Well, I wish you wouldn’t.”

    Sforzando Alighieri savored the warm spiced aroma of his tea. Across from him, Father Everard clutched his belly with a groan. The urbane song maester sipped his tea.

    “How can the temple claim Song Magic as a blessing from their God, when records indicate that Song Magic predates The Celestial Faith by thousands of years? Songster Mahmud himself was a priest of the Sofian Philosophies, and yet he made a point of distinguishing his faith from his Song Magic.”

    The portly priest heaped a third shoveling of sugar into his own tea before gulping it emphatically.

    “God created all things, even if our understanding of him is somewhat recent in comparison. Song Magic is a blessing; therefore, it is a blessing from God.”

    Sforzando nodded thoughtfully while Father Everard refilled his cup.

    “I am not sure.”

    “What you mean to suggest is heresy!” Everard shook his head disquietedly. “Getting excommunicated would not be good for your odds of being canonized.”

    Sforzando laughed. “I told you when we met that I was no saint. And I have no intention of becoming one.”

    “Well,” the priest loaded his new cup with sugar. “I wouldn’t let the elders catch wind of your doubts. Especially Mother Josephine.”

    The maester clinked his teacup against his companion’s.

    “Amen to that.”

    229 Cat’s The Pajamas words
    @DavidALudwig

  6. The shrink tapped his pen on the desk in the way that made my eyelid twitch.

    Unable to let it go, I tried to explain feelings with words—never my strong suit. “I just mean, I realized It wasn’t me. I’m not dirty or bad because of the things that happened to me.”

    “Not sure what you mean,” he repeated, his noxious voice grinding against my raw nerves like a cheese grater on aged cheddar. “I thought we established you weren’t at fault for the abuse of your childhood or from your ex-husband.”

    “Yeah.” I slapped my hands against my legs in frustration. “Yeah, we established that. And I got it. Seriously, I do. The thing is that there’s a huge difference between understanding it isn’t your fault and not feeling dirty because you were there when it happened. That’s the growth I had, Doc, whether you understand it or not. The thing that changed me, that made me not feel broken anymore, was not the realization it wasn’t my fault. It was knowing, understanding, finally, that their actions didn’t make me bad, too.”

    He nodded, but his face said he still didn’t get the difference. Didn’t matter, I decided. He didn’t have to understand for it to heal me.

    210 ineligible words
    @virg_nelson

  7. Shandor poked around the vendors’ stalls and bought some fresh vegetables, some venison from a local butcher, and some moisturizing cream from the Herbarium. His stomach growled again and he turned to find one of the food stalls. He inhaled, sampling the scents permeating the park, and something teased his nose. An odd combination of crisp pine and soft honeysuckle filtered through the aromas of sizzling meat, sweet kettle corn, and fried bread.

    He frowned and scanned the people walking between the popup tents. The pine and honeysuckle scents pulled him through the throng of people, dancing like the elusive breeze, and he completely forgot his hunger in his need to find the source of the scent.

    “Hey Captain. Are you okay?”

    Shandor stopped his forward motion just in time to keep from running into his big crewmate Mason Rockwell. The man stood just shy of seven feet in height and had shoulders twice the width of Shandor’s. He’d often complained about finding shirts and pants that fit his massive body. Stone giant problems.

    “Yes, I’m fine.” Shandor frowned as he tried to look around Mason.

    “What are you looking for?” Mason craned his head to look behind him.

    “Something that smells good, I’m not sure what.”

    “You mean the roast chicken? I think that stall is selling it.”

    Shandor shook his head. “No, something spicy and sweet. You can’t smell it?”

    Mason rumbled a chuckle. “My people aren’t known for their noses, Captain.”

    244 ineligible #WIP365 words
    @SiobhanMuir

  8. “Did you pick up my order?”

    Jenny cringed, ignoring her mom’s question, and walked into her bedroom.

    Her mother staggered after her, catching herself against the doorjamb.“Jenny, I’m talking to you.”

    Jenny glanced at her mother. Stringy brown hair hung in greasy chunks around her mother’s gaunt face. Tears stung Jenny’s eyes. She looked away.

    “Did you get it?”

    “I’m not sure what you mean, Mom.”

    Her mom limped closer, a red glow backlighting her brown eyes. “Don’t lie to me, Jenny. You know I can tell when you’re lying.” A long, split tongue flicked between her lips. “Yes, it tastes like a lie. You know what that means, don’t you?”

    Backing away, she held her arms up and shook her head. “No. Please don’t.” The back of her legs bumped into her bed, and she crumpled. “I—look, Mom, I’ll do whatever you say, but, please, don’t do that.”

    “Cut!” Maxwell’s shout broke Jenny/Ambrosia’s concentration. “Excellent work, you two. I can’t wait to share it with the audience.” He turned away. “All right, everyone, let’s take a 15-minute break. Be back at,” he looked at his watch, “2 p.m.”

    Ambrosia shuddered, coming back to reality. She’d really thought she’d seen that red glow. It must’ve been her imagination. She smiled at her cast mate. “That was some amazing acting, Celia. I really believed you.”

    Celia smirked. “I do my best, dear, but,” a red glow danced in her eyes, “who said I was acting?”

    249 words

    @marcibaun

  9. My hand flattens against the wall as a shudder rocks my body. I follow my commander, who’s floating ahead of me, heading for an airlock. Pioneers in space flight we might be but now we’re heading for certain death.

    “We’re nearly there!” Priscilla shouts, her long brown hair flowing behind her in the lack of gravity. “We’ll have to get into our suits fast!”

    Last I checked, there was nothing fast about that bulky suit. Regardless, the space station we helped pioneer is falling apart and we need to get off it. We dive out of the collapsing tunnel and I pull the door shut behind me. Our suits hang on the wall and we grab them, struggling to get them on. Normally we have a team of people doing this and now it’s just us. Somehow, probably out of panic, we get the bulky white suits on. I snap my helmet down and we float as fast as possible into the cockpit of the shuttle that brought us here.

    “Call mission control. Tell them we’re crashing.”

    It takes a second, but Priscilla gets the radio working. And the first thing the ground says is not encouraging.

    “Not sure what you mean.”

    “For fucks sake,” I mutter. “Space station crashing. Asteroid collision. We’re coming home!”

    The next minutes are a blur as we work toward Earth’s gravitational pull. Being an astronaut is exciting but I’m staying on Earth. I’d rather be stuck in a lab the rest of my life.

    @Aightball
    250 words

  10. Requiem

    The shadows were deep and I could feel their weight as I passed along the corridor. The doors opened on each side, and I could hear my footfalls echo into the empty spaces. Despite myself, I shivered against the chill.

    How much was fear and how much was cold, didn’t matter. It set my soul on edge and I picked up my pace.

    “I’ve never seen anyone in such a hurry to get through the holding area,” I heard a voice echo. “Are you that sure of yourself and your destination or haven’t you figured it out yet?”

    Yeah, that voice suited the place perfectly: one part rusty nails on chalkboard to two parts rattling bones.

    I let my breath out slowly trying to regain some semblance of control.

    “I’m not sure.”

    “What you mean is, you’re stalling until you figure things out— but you’ll get there…”

    No, that wasn’t the least bit ominous.

    “I’m not sure what you’re asking, and it really depends on where I am,” I answered.

    “It’s too late, you know— there is no escaping this place – there is only one destination for you.”

    There are only a few places I know where ominous voices, creepy shadows, and only one destination per person are the norm.

    “Do you know me?”

    I listened to the voice and nodded. I wasn’t sure who was speaking, but I recognized the voice.

    “Nightmare,” I said as I rounded the corner and looked into the mirror, “and you are me.”

    249 Words (Not including the title)
    @mishmhem

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