#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 443

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 443 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 443:

Katheryn J Avila

Programmer by day, writer by night, Katheryn J. Avila.

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads |

And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.

The Prompt:

“I worked something out.”

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 443”

  1. Shandor scowled. “Aren’t you on duty this weekend?”

    Mason shook his head with a wink. “I worked something out with Redfeather and we traded shifts. So now I’m free to help you find whatever smells good.” He cracked a grin.

    Shandor snorted but the luscious scents of pine and honeysuckle teased him too much to pursue the argument. “You really can’t smell the honeysuckle?”

    Mason raised his eyebrows. “No, not in all these people and cooking smells. Maybe someone’s selling flowers?”

    That made sense. Though honeysuckle was a springtime scent while pine was more prevalent in the winter months. But the two scents were equally strong and seemed to be intertwined, and he needed to find the source more than he’d ever needed anything before.

    What the hell is wrong with me? The question banged around inside his head even as he searched the crowds with Mason trailing behind him. He inspected the patrons in front of a syrup seller but the smells were farther on. He pushed past the sweet smells of syrup to find a vegetable stand selling squash, onions, carrots, and potatoes. Not a flower in sight, but the scents of pine and honeysuckle grew strong enough to make his mouth water. Where was it coming from?

    A woman with short deep brown hair shot through with silver selected some onions from the vendor. She wore faded jeans covering her rounded ass and a zip-up hoodie draping over her full breasts. Shandor’s mouth watered more.

    248 ineligible #ElementalHearts words
    @SiobhanMuir

  2. “I worked something out.”

    “You did what?” I turned around abruptly, my hand still on his office door.

    “The party leadership is behind Armstrong. They’ll support him for the nomination.” Jake was kind of sheepish as he delivered that bit of news. He knew my opinion of Congressman Armstrong, the current front runner.

    “Jake, I dug up enough dirt on Armstrong to bury him. I assumed the party big wigs would abandon him after they saw my report. And isn’t that what I was hired for?”

    As a political operative, vetting candidates was my job. Jake hired me to do just that for the presidential race. But something was going on here and I didn’t know what. I didn’t like being out of the loop and I was determined to find out what they were up to.

    “Look, Danielle, they made a decision. Our job is over.”

    I stared at him, not quite processing what he was telling me. “So screw the country? What happened to you, Jake? When we met back in college you had principles. We shared the same ideals.”

    We shared more than that, but I didn’t remind him about it.

    “I’m sorry, Dani.” Yeah, me too, I thought as I left.

    I was royally pissed and I hoped Jake would re-evaluate but I didn’t expect much.

    I also didn’t expect what happened next.

    Catherine Ducourau
    @cathducourau
    227 Words

  3. Death Comes a Knocking

    Blackmail was a whole other kettle of fishy motives. If Helen Monterey, courtesan, charlatan, had been double-dipping, then she likely made a swack of enemies.

    Blackmailing was such a soulless business.

    Still, I had to admit that revealing everything to her ten-year daughter took a lot of moxie. Or pluck! Or paranoia! Something twisted. Exposing Mona to her dodgy endeavours didn’t seem to serve much purpose. Even if the child was smart as a whip.

    As Mona sat there, six feet away, the reverberation of her painfully delivered “oh, yes,” dripping from her lips like drops of blood, I should have gotten up, crossed our COVID-19 safe zone, offered her an arm of support.

    But I sat still. Offering her a hug might have sent the wrong message. We’d just met. I had no idea what that message might be. And the virus was weighing heavy.

    So, I started to natter. “She told you everything?”

    Her head nodded. “Everything.”

    “Names?”

    “Yes.”

    “What else?”

    Mona’s voice choked up “I can hear Helen speaking. The way she told me…. ‘Baby girl, we need money. I’ve done things. Dangerous things. For us. I worked something out. Am working something out. Something that will keep us comfortable. For years.’”

    “Dangerous things? She said that?”

    “Yes.”

    “Do you have the names?”

    “Yes. On a list.”

    “Helen kept a list?”

    “No. I was the list maker.”

    “At ten?”

    “Earlier even. I was that kind of kid. Lists helped organize my Mother’s chaos.”

    250 WIP
    @billmelaterplea

  4. My dad had deserted us long ago, mother was dragging herself down, working three jobs and then COVID -19. She lost the first job, then the second and finally the third the week before Christmas.
    My five-year-old younger brother thought Santa would bring him the hottest toy on the market a Holy Stone HS190 Foldable Mini Nano RC Drone. It was $60.
    I was fifteen and therefore considered unhireable. If only it would snow; I could hire myself out to shovel driveways. As I stared outside and prayed it began to snow. It started piling up in the first hour and continued into the afternoon and when it stopped, we had a record ten feet.
    I hired myself out. By the time 9 p. m. rolled around, When I’d finished, I’d earned $640. I went home to find mom crying the landlord said come up with the $600 for this month’s overdue rent or get out tomorrow, Christmas Day. I handed her the $640 and said I worked something out. She cried again.
    I woke up Christmas morning with trepidation, my brother would be so disappointed. The doorbell rang and we all went to answer it and found three presents in the snow that said From Santa. My brother received exactly what the wanted. My mother found three gift certificates, one $200 grocery card, a Visa card with $500 and a spa day certificate. Santa had found us after all. Merry Christmas whoever you are Santa, you saved our Christmas.
    249 Word
    @SweetSheil

  5. I stared out the front window. The row of candy canes marching down my walkway were a new addition. Suzi caught the direction of my gaze.

    “Who do you think’s doing this?”

    Sipping my coffee, I pondered her question. “I thought it was one of the neighbors.”

    “You don’t think so now?”

    “Not sure. Some new families and it’s not like I hang out at the summer bar-b-ques. I’m not friendly with any of them.”

    My best friend perked up. “They have block parties? With meat?”

    “Doesn’t bar-b-que translate to meat?”

    “You know what I mean. And they seem friendly. Maybe you should be friendly back. Besides, with all their decorating, I bet one of them did it.”

    I jerked my attention away from the lawn decorations. “I wish they’d stop.”

    “Why? Two years, Robyn. He’s been gone two years. You can’t just hide in the dark the rest of your life.”

    Ignoring the concern in her voice, I continued. “I worked something out. I’m selling the house and moving into an apartment.”

    A look of pure horror washed across her face. “But you love this house!”

    I did. I’d loved it since I was a kid.

    The front door banged open. Drummer, Suzi’s boyfriend marched in, followed by Batman. “Candy canes,” Drummer exclaimed. “Glad you’re getting into the season, Robyn.”

    Batman drew my gaze. Did he just smile? He never smiled, but there it was, like a Secret Santa gift he wasn’t ready for me to open.
    ****
    249 Secret Christmas Nightrider project words
    @SilverJames_

  6. The engine faltered and the exhaust spat blue smoke, the speeder quickly slowing. The landscape blur resolved itself into ashen sand and stunted trees, the view through the windows singularly unexciting.

    Henderson had untoggled the engine’s cowling before the wheels stopped, raising the hood to reveal the sullen block of metal.

    “I told you,” he said, jabbing his wrench at the flywheel. “Another problem your ideas have created.”

    Susan stood back; her thumbs tucked in her belt loops. She gave a long sniff, raising her nose until the smell of mesquite stung at her sinuses. “You’re only jealous,” she ventured. “We’d almost reached a hundred before the power began to fail.”

    Henderson pulled a cloth from his pocket. He leaned into the engine compartment and removed the air filter. He gave it a shake and a stream of sand poured out, re-joining the rest of the desert.

    “So, we fit an air baffle,” Susan said. “As easy as that. Another instant fix from Susan Blade; the ‘I Worked Something Out’ girl; the engineer blessed with oestrogen AND intelligence. Seems to me you’re the one that creates our problems. I’m the human remedy, the vaccine to cure all your ills.”

    “Where’s the remedy to your ego? Tell me that.” Henderson refitted the filter and dropped the hood. “I could use an inoculation for that…”

    Susan dropped back into her seat and restarted the engine. “I worked something out for that too, honey-bun. You could keep your mouth shut. You try that.”

    250 words per hour ~ twothirdsrasta.blogspot.com

  7. Silencer lounged against the main mast in cold winter light. The elf called Upgrade sat on the skylight housing next to him, where the gnome tinker attended him with files and whetstones. Tamas, the gnome, worked Upgrade’s blade leg with practiced even strokes. Silencer drew his own pocket stone and the elf flipped him an oil bottle with the twist of a hook hand.

    The tallest of the present company nodded his thanks before pooling oil on his stone and returning the bottle. Producing a dagger from his sleeve, Silencer scraped it in an unhurried rhythm. Tamas turned his singe tipped poofy white heard toward the newcomer.

    “That was quite a battle, wasn’t it?”

    “Upgrade.” The elf grated his agreement over his steel jaw.

    Silencer shrugged before summoning some semblance of sociability.

    “Upgrade’s prosthetics are working well. All he still needs is a ranged attack.”

    Elf and gnome exchanged a glance before the former answered with his remaining organic eye shining like his mechanical one.

    “Upgrade.”

    Tamas chuckled, “Actually, I worked something out on that front.”

    The tinker cleared the deck around Upgrade as he rose. With a flex of his arm, Upgrade shot one of his hook hands up into the rigging still connected by a thin chain. A pull and a twist made the chain retract, hauling the elf into the rigging. A few aerial maneuvers later, he swung back down to pirouette on his good foot with both hook hands whirling on chains around him.

    “Well damn.”

    250 Cat’s The Pajamas words
    @DavidALudwig

  8. I worked something out. I did the math, as I like to say it. It was only a simple projection based on how the SARS-CoV2 virus spreads, its ability to kill people, and the way people in the country behave. That’s all it was. I took that information, and I worked something out.

    And here we are. 10 months into this, and everything I said would happen, has happened. Over 300,000 people dead, and I’m not surprised, not shocked, not staring at the numbers going, “When will it end?”

    I am sad. Sad and angry. Sad that people are as stupid as they are. That they couldn’t do the same simple projection, couldn’t make the same simple adjustments to personal behavior, to improve their safety, and to slow the spread of this damn thing down.

    Angry that I was right again. Another time I wanted so much to be wrong. Another time, damn-it, that I wasn’t.

    That’s what bothered me the most. I worked something out. And I wasn’t wrong.
    Sometimes, I don’t know how I sleep at night. I look back over the years, and I see how many times, when it really mattered, when it was something important, something major, I worked something out, and was right. Over. And over. And over.

    I’d even tried, only God knew how many times, to not work things out. To not do the math. To ignore everything. Yet, I always worked something out. And wished again, endlessly, I’d been wrong.

    250 Words
    @mysoulstears

  9. The nip in the air caused tears to stream from the corners of her eyes. She wiped them away, pushing forward, climbing higher. The muscles of her thighs and calves ached. She exhaled, expelling a frosty cloud that hovered before dissipating like all of her former dreams.

    The past lay somewhere behind and below her, and the future lay ahead, at the top of the peak. She glanced back, at the steep hill, path carved through the snow and white-capped tree boughs.

    Balancing on one foot, she kicked a layer of snow off her boots. The color deepened in areas where the wet seeped through the outer layer, and cold infused her insulated, extra-thick socks. Nothing kept the temperature out forever.

    Nothing held the memories at bay. The screams as the car slid across the slippery road. The crunch of metal smashing against the immobile pillar. The unrelenting searing pain.

    The silence.

    Feeling this cold meant she was alive. Survivor.

    If she stayed home where it was safe, if she never opened her heart, she had nothing to lose. She had nothing to gain.

    With an added determination, she took another step, and another. Ahead lay the outline of a small cabin, windows lit and smoke churning from its chimney.

    She stood in the light, and knocked.

    Jack opened the door, as if he’d been expecting her. She tucked her face against his soft red flannel. “I didn’t think you’d make it,” he said.

    “I worked something out.”

    248 words
    @LouisaBacio

  10. Respect

    The words weren’t coming. All Terrance wanted was to find the right words to describe the passing of his friend, but the words avoided him. It was ironic, they’d called him the bard, the gifted wordsmith who could break your heart with his prose— only the words were AWOL with his heart.

    He watched as one by one the others paid their respects, and still, his tongue remained still. He knew they were watching him, waiting for him to pronounce some ironic gem that would relieve their sorrows while echoing the respect and love he felt.

    How do you explain someone who not only filled your heart but defined it? How do you pay respects when the profound loss is all you feel?

    He stood for a moment, watching the others as they watched him, and he smiled. In his mind, he could hear his friend’s laughter, and then he too was laughing.

    “I’ve thought a lot about today— what I’d say and how much our friendship meant to us, and I worked something out: there are no words for someone who can fill your heart and rip it out at the same time; there are no rules that govern the passing of a shadow across the sun: there one minute and gone the next. There are no titles better than friend; teacher; brother.”

    “There are no words, save this – Might as well jump.”

    235 words (not including title)
    @mishmhem

  11. #ThursThreads Week 443 is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope to catch you next week.

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