Welcome back to the home of Paranormal & Dauntless Romance. 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 458 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 458:
Artist, Horsewoman and High Fantasy writer, Isabella Muetzel.
And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
“Imagine what you could do with it.”
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!
16 Replies to “#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 458”
The conjurer’s necklet was heavy, its weight more than she’d expected. She raised it over her head, as though she was going to wear it as a crown.
“What do I do with it now? What was the trick you mentioned?” Anne looked up at it between her hands, sighting through the space it surrounded. The necklet was made up from slabs of a dull metal, each piece ornamented with strange occult devices, looking more alien than medieval, as Jemimah had suggested.
Jemimah leaned closer, her shoulder passing behind Anne’s. “You have to do three things simultaneously,” she said, her floral scent subtly intruding. “You need to press its sides together, then try to stretch the front of the band while you’re doing it. And you’ll need to empty your mind: it won’t work if you don’t.”
Anne tried it twice before she got the trick of it, the room winking out of existence when it passed her eyes. It was as though she’d been transported, every sense of her body transferred into the other place she’d found. She was just about to move off, to begin to explore this peculiar new world, when it suddenly disappeared, Jemimah’s face sliding into view.
“Well, what do you think?” Jemimah grinned, taking the necklet back from her. “Imagine what you could do with it. I haven’t had chance to go far: I had to show it to you first!”
Anne nodded, deciding it would be hers. “Yes,” she dead panned. “It’s fabulous.”
250 words ~ twothirdsrasta.blogspot.com
The Easter Case: Painted into A Corner
I took a dollar retainer from Louella Samuels.
Louella was twelve and not fazed by hiring a detective. She did wonder why my fee was so low. I began to explain the concept of “retainer”, noticed her braces, and didn’t want to confuse her.
“Pro bono,” I said, which helped even less.
She gave me what information she had. Her father, Henry Samuels, and her mom, Liz, had separated six months earlier. It had not been amicable. My word. The way she described it, her mother blowing her top, chasing her father out of their house, the tears, the anger, even she gathered that her father had done something unforgivable.
Later, when her mom cooled down, she explained that her daddy had cheated.
Louella understood cheating.
She told me Henry was a mechanic at Henderson Car Repairs, that her parents had started talking again a while ago, and from then on, she visited him every second week.
“He lives with some fun people in a big house on Dunford Street.”
“Fun people?” I dug deeper.
“Midge and Charlie are artists. They have a whole room where they paint.”
“Paint?” I asked.
“Themselves. They get totally naked and paint each other. They showed me. Second time I was there. Midge called me in, said, ‘Imagine what you could do?’
‘With it?’ I’d asked, ’With painting you two?’
“Midge laughed, said, ‘no silly, us painting you.’”
I could hardly wait to meet these “fun” people.
Sade glared at the little wizard. He still wore the ridiculous blue with night-glo stars robe and the pointed hat. She stood a foot taller but he definitely outweighed her. She was so done with this whole realm hopping shit. “Dude, I just want you to know that I had my patience tested. I’m negative.”
“But I own you. Bought and paid.”
“We already had that discussion. You do realize I’m the agent in charge of the FBI’s MAGIC Unit.”
“You do realize that you are unique. That is why I want you.”
She huffed out a long-suffering sigh. “You’re human.”
The wizard turned shifty-eyed. “I am a magick.”
“You’re still human. You shouldn’t be able to open portals between realms.”
The little man puffed up like a bantam rooster. “I am a wizard. I have great powers.”
His expression turned sly. “If you join with me, that power would be yours too. Imagine what you could do with it.”
Sade’s answer was definitive. “No.” She tapped the badge on her belt. “I have all the power I need right here. You are under arrest for magical crimes against humanity.”
“You didn’t even consider my proposition.”
Off in the distance, a creature roared. The wizard paled. “Was that a dragon?”
Grinning, Sade nodded. “Sounds like one to me.”
A wolf howled. The wizard gulped. “Werewolf?”
“Yup.” The cavalry had arrived.
The wizard blinked out of existence but his voice drifted back. “You will regret this.”
250 Penumber Papers WIP words
Gina’s first birthday party was a celebration, not just because she had achieved the grand age of one, but also because she had learned to walk. Birthday the second also was in recognition of another milestone: learning to talk. Her third birthday signified beginning Montessori; her fourth was in honor of learning to read. Birthday Five celebrated her entrance into public school: pre-kindergarten. But Birthday Number 6 was truly a momentous occasion, a victory of astounding proportions, honoring Gina’s most significant achievement to date. It was the day Daddy was finally ready to remove the training wheels from Gina’s bicycle.
She watched with fascination as Daddy located his toolbox and lugged it out to the driveway.
“Bring your bike over here Gina. Let’s get this show started. You are a big girl now so off with these baby things. No more training wheels. Just a regular bike! Imagine what you could do with it!”
“The tricky part is learning to balance by yourself. You’ll be able to go faster and further.”
“With my friends?”
“Yes–you can all ride together. I want you to have fun!”
In a rush of excitement, Gina climbed on her bike, pedaling uncertainly down the sidewalk.
Side by side, hands jointly clasped, Mom and Dad anxiously held their breath as Gina wobbled precariously on the grey concrete.
“That’s great,” Dad yelled. “Not too far!”
The tiny figure grew smaller and smaller as their only child vanished in the distance.
Jackson was a family man; John was divorced with a difficult ex-wife. There were other things that made them friends.
One morning, on the factory floor, Jackson played an obscure album track from an early-80s punk band from his phone’s loudspeaker. John started to sing along. They recognised each other as kindreds. Their shared interests went beyond music.
They launched a web site aimed at fans of British science fiction – everything from Gerry Anderson’s puppet shows to Blake’s 7 and Doctor Who.
On the first Tuesday of the month, John intended to upload the latest article from their stock of reviews and pieces, about how Captain Scarlet’s voice and look had been modelled on a 40s-era Cary Grant. Jackson didn’t know about the Global Web. He was the writer. His knowledge of WordPress extended to appreciating it was a portmanteau of word and press. John was the web guru.
“Captain Scarlet’s indestructibility,” John said. “Imagine what you could do with it. With that power.”
John didn’t upload the latest article. Jackson called him. There was no answer.
When John didn’t show for work the next day, Jackson called over to John’s house. After ringing the doorbell three times, Jackson tried the door handle.
The front door unlocked, Jackson pushed inside.
“John?” he called.
John stood on a chair in the kitchen, the light fitting replaced with a noose.
“You’re not indestructible, John,” Jackson said quietly. “Come down and we’ll talk.”
It was this kind of thing that made them friends.
250 words @ragtaggiggagon
Bel woke up with the first rays of the sun, but they couldn’t reach her room. Her body shook like before. Like it had each time it hadn’t been touched by the nourishing rays.
“Imagine what you could do with it,” the storekeeper told Bel’s mother as he showed her the AI. “Highly intelligent with top marks in empathy. Her name is Maddie.”
Bel’s mother nodded. “Social skills?” she asked.
“Limited, unfortunately,” the storekeeper admitted. “But she’s a quick learner.”
“Bel is sickly. Her genetic engineering comes with a price.”
The storekeeper rubbed his chin. “Maddie has abilities I don’t fully understand.”
Bel’s mother gave the storekeeper her credit card. “6000NUSD seems an awful lot. But if it helps Bel recover…”
Maddie and Bel went outside the first day, but they couldn’t see the sun. Pollution made the sky almost black. “There was a man and a boy on that bench yesterday,” Maddie said. “I think they were dead, but the sun’s rays brought them to life because today they are not here.”
Bel told Maddie about Aron, a boy she loved. “It’s the time for his activation. He’s leaving.” Activation was the term for formal education.
Bel seemed to be getting better, but Bel’s mother explained to Maddie that Bel was dying.
“Her genetic engineering is flawed. Nothing is perfect you know.”
Maddie’s own abilities were waning.
Months later, Bel was stronger. Maddie was dealing with her own situation and it seemed to be working. But for how long?
250 Words – YA Dystopian WIP
“I’m not certain what nature of critter it is,” Wade Blanton said, wiping sweat from inside the band of his salt-ringed sombrero.
My partner, Shug Coffey stuck his finger within the diamonds of the chicken-wire enclosure behind Blanton’s cantina just outside Nogales. In Arizona Territory or Sonora, Mexico, it didn’t much matter back then.
“Careful, I’m not sure if it bites. When I got it off the late Padre Robledo, I was in too much of a hurry to in-quire,” Blanton said.
For most of the time I gaped at this thing, it tucked its head ‘neath one of its white wings for the shade found there. Once, though, it peered out at me and looked so serene and resigned, I ‘bout cried. I gave Shug a “let’s go” look.
Shug whispered, “Pard, the future of our house of earthly dee-lights hinges on bringing this critter back to El Paso. Imagine what you could do with it.”
“Yeah, but … that poor critter, Shug.”
He headed to his horse and returned with a pair of leather sacks. I thought he was going to ask if he could check the feathered beast’s teeth. Shug was known as a shrewd judge of beasts — just not beasts of the air.
“All right, I’ll take it,” Shug said.
Swinging his eyes between me and our new attraction, Shug said, ”You’ll see. It’ll all be worth it. Yeah, yeah, $2,000 IS an awful steep price. But for a angel?!”
“Holy shit, Max is pretty worked up.” A nasal male voice echoed in the entryway atrium.
“Yeah, well, this shoulda been a quick in-n-out and now he can’t find the doc.” The second male voice had a plugged sound, and the owner promptly sneezed. “Fuckin’ allergies. Damn tree giz.”
Nasal laughed. “My wife says you should eat local honey so’s you don’t get all plugged.”
They paused just outside of the guard’s desk. Chester swallowed hard and shot a look at Wilcox. She didn’t meet his gaze, keeping her attention straight up. He realized her leg and shoulder might not be completely under the desk surface and the men on the other side could look down and see her. He turned sideways to allow her the space, but she pressed a hand on his arm to keep him still.
What a terrible time to have broad shoulders.
“So, you think Max’s plan is really gonna work?” Nasal grabbed whatever he’d set down on the desk.
“Oh, yeah. He’s only lookin’ for the doc to make us all safe before he uses it. Fuckin’ libtards won’t know what hit ‘em. Just imagine what you could do. With it in our hands, everyone will hafta take us seriously.”
“But it’s still fuckin’ bad, right? And we don’t have the antidote for it yet. How long’s he gonna hold out if he can’t find the doc?”
“Oh, he’ll find him. The guy can’t get off the campus now.”
245 ineligible #Sirens words
Today was an awful day. That’s the reason I decided to take this stroll after work. I kept my head down as I walked, not wanting to talk to anyone. I needed to clear my mind.
As I shuffled along, I picked up various rocks and twigs I found unusual. Pieces of my day played through my mind – I was late for work, my laptop died right when I needed it, and a coworker spilled her coffee on me first thing this morning. Things had gone downhill from there.
I stopped walking when a shiny glint grabbed my attention. It was an iridescent rock, polished to a bright gleam and throwing off brilliant colors. When I picked it up, it fit perfectly in the palm of my hand. The troubles from my day melted as I stared at it.
“This is beautiful. I wish Rosie was here to see it.”
“Whatcha got there, Maddy?”
“How did-? Where-? Rosie? What are you doing here?”
Rosie looked as confused as I was. “I’m not sure.”
As I cradled the rock, it glowed and a crazy thought crossed my mind.
“I wish I had some apples.”
My backpack felt like someone had dropped weights in it, causing me to lose my balance and almost topple backwards. When I unzipped my backpack, it was full of apples.
“It’s a magic rock, Maddy! Imagine what you could do with it.” Rosie’s voice drifted over my shoulder.
My mind filled with possibilities.
“Take the pill.”
Emily’s mom pushed the glass of cloudy water toward her. Three years of global sickness and death and Emily had a choice to make.
The man said they picked 60 people to get a pill – a male and female from each age 15 to 44.
More than 2 billion had died. He told her it was called Operation Noah’s Ark. They were chosen to procreate.
“Imagine what you could do with it,” what friends she had left told her when she told them about the pill. “It’s like you’re God or something.”
Only Emily wasn’t sure she wanted kids. She wasn’t even sure she liked guys. Yet, here she was, 16 years old and deciding if she was going to have government-controlled babies.
Emily picked the pill up, put it under her tongue and took a drink. She glanced back and forth at her parents.
“Hey guys, you’re gonna want to see this,” Emily’s brother Jason called out from the living room.
They turned in time to see the banner on the news “Government says ‘Operation Noah’s Ark’ is scam”.
“Officials say the pill was given to only a few dozen people,” the anchor explained. “The scammers told them they were chosen to secretly repopulate society, but a lab said the pill held a mysterious new virus they’ve never seen before.”
The government speculated someone wanted to finish what the other virus had started.
Emily held her breath, backed toward the door, and ran.
“What are your thoughts, brother?”
Tara chuffed, her wrapped orange and black tail slimming her silhouette by holding her pants against her legs. Hodaka turned his dark eyes from the precipice he had been considering all morning.
“Why do you ask? You wouldn’t be hoping to twist them, sister?”
Hodaka hated how Tara’s fanged smile fascinated him. Under her flame green eyes, it looked positively fiendish. He imagined her drinking rivers of blood. The image excited him.
“When have I ever needed such devices with you?”
The corner of Hodaka’s mouth curled up. Their brethren were unsettled by Tara’s smile. They didn’t understand how, inferior creature as she was, her smile perfectly expressed the aims of their faith. Only Tara ever saw Hodaka’s smile.
“I was meditating on the silence.”
“It is too quiet. Isn’t it?”
She joined him in leaning on the old stone wall overlooking open sky. He kept his eyes on her and scowled.
“Moon by moon our northern brethren outpace us, while our leader hamstrings our own efforts with a surfeit of caution. A terror of drawing attention.”
Tara moved her tail from around her own legs to Hodaka’s closer leg.
“Yet our Lady has granted our cell command of one of the legendary creatures.”
“And our leader uses it as a mere guard bird!” Hodaka struck the stone with his fist.
“Imagine what you could do with it,” Tara proffered mechanical pieces in her backwards hands. “I believe our leader’s chamber will be unlocked tonight.”
250 Cat’s The Pajamas words
Lila poked at the sword. Nearly the length of her legs, it was impressive, but why would Jen think this was a good birthday gift? She raised an eyebrow at her best friend.
Jen grinned, her brown eyes sparkling with excitement. “Imagine what you could do with it.” She picked it up and stumbled backward. Grimacing, she lifted it higher and braced her legs wide apart. “It’d be a great work out.”
“If I want to accidently kill myself, sure, but I’m thinking I’d like to live to see my 30th birthday.”
Jen swung it, caught herself against a tree, and laughed. “Okay, I think I need to lift some weights before I do this.” She gently leaned it against tree.
Sunlight danced along the blade and its engravings. For a moment, Lila thought the engravings writhed. Curious, she inched closer. They weren’t just engravings, but actual words. She adjusted her glasses and pushed back a lock of long, black hair.
“To the victor goes the spoils,” she read aloud and frowned. “What do you suppose that—”
The air shimmered, and a tall, muscled warrior solidified in front of them. A leather jerkin stretched taut across broad shoulders, and long, blond hair framed an impossibly handsome face. Eyes the color of an alpine lake pierced through her.
He knelt and bowed his head. Long, blond hair obscured his face. “Milady, you have need of me?”
Lila’s knees threatened to collapse. Need? Oh, yes, yes, she did.
A simple mistake or perhaps fate propelled through the door I stepped through today and into a world filled with violence, blood shed and power struggles , but I’m getting ahead of myself.
“I told she’d arrive,” a handsome man close to the door exclaimed.
“I was looking for the lecture on metaphysical transfiguration,” I explained.
The room was full of men and not just any men they were all between 25 and 40 years of age and could have modelled for muscle magazines. As I looked around, I saw a huge circle and an altar in the center; were they planning on me as a sacrifice? I started to back up grabbing the doorknob; but I was propelled into the center of the room.
“She has immense power; imagine what you could do with it, Aloysius” another man replied.
“Please, let me leave. I’m not who you think,” I protested.
“You are Louisa May Angelica, born May 30, 1992?”Aloysius asked.
“Todays the day I take your abilities.“ Aloysius then placed his hands on my forehead and commanded, ”Close your eyes and open your mind.”
When I opened my eyes. I knew I had been compelled to come here. A jolt of lightning flew out of my fingers and struck Aloysius dead.
“Anyone else want my abilities?” I asked.
“No, my queen.” said one, then all in the room knelt and gave me their fidelity.
Fate had brought me here it was time to enjoy the spoils.
It’s a room. That’s it. Four white walls, white ceiling, and a dingy concrete floor. Realistically, it will fit one small desk, a couple chairs, maybe a bookshelf? And this thing is going to be my office.
“Imagine what you could do with it.”
I glance at my friend, wondering what’s going through her brain. At this point, it’s an empty square that needs some serious deep cleaning. Do with it? I can’t imagine doing anything with it. But we agreed we’d rent two small offices for our burgeoning sewing business. A lost art, sewing, we’re hoping to bring it back.
“Ugh. Well, I’ve put down the deposit, so I guess I’m committed. But where the hell am I going to store anything?”
“We’ll cross that bridge later. For now, you and I have committed to sewing a dress for a production of Hello! Dolly and it’s due in six weeks. We’d better get a preliminary start.”
I can’t argue that. We have a place to sew, we’d better get started; that Dolly dress is involved, and it needs a hat. Returning to the car, I grab the folded table and folding chair that will be my starting tools and then set up the sewing room. This had better pay off.
211 words (going through writer’s block =(…)
“I imagine too much.”
Sometimes it feels like the therapist wants me to fill in her blanks. I was never good at that. I prefer multiple choice it gives me guidelines— a clue as to what is acceptable.
How do I tell her that the sound of branches brushing against the house become demons dragging their nails against the clapboard; that the wind blowing through the trees is the hot breath of the enemy closing in?
How do I make her understand that these are images but memories? How do I tell her that I have seen that glint in her eyes as she writes, binding my fate to her words?
Her word is the power keeping me here— binding me to this place, and I’m not sure if the 36 psychiatric hold will stand. It’s up to her and she knows when I’m lying.
“Can you give me an example?” she asks, her thumb strokes the ring in her middle finger.”
The demon in my dream had done the same thing, and I’m not sure which side of the dream is real now.
I calm my breathing, trying to reach the images, and she smiles at me.
“Imagine,” she prompts. “Imagine the power you hold; imagine what you could do with it.”
I let out a trembling breath and nod as I see the greed in her eyes.
“Three wishes,” I agree, and the deal is struck.
When she releases the circle, all bets are off. Imagine.
248 words not including title
#ThursThreads Week 458 is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope to catch you next week.