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 475 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 475:
Computer geek, bass player, historical reenactor, and flashfiction writer, Mary Decker.
And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
“How do you know?”
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 475”
The voice of the Norns sat before him, the tools of her trade set between them on the oak plank. “You have a question?”
He closed his eyes, the only way he could swallow down his fear. The moment he could breathe, he whispered the words he had practiced for weeks—ever since he’d received the news they were going to war. “Will I survive the upcoming battles?”
She smiled at him, old eyes crinkling at the corners as she tugged on the white and grey braid flopped over her shoulder. “Is that what you’re really asking, warrior? What is the question in your heart?”
Feeling the blood drain from his face, he glanced over his shoulder at the doorway where an apprentice kept others organized in the line with their “gifts” for the priestess.
“How do you know?” he asked her, laughing softly as she touched the drop spindle and carved bones before her. “If I survive, will she be waiting?”
Faster than he thought a person of the elder’s age could move, she snatched a strand of his strawberry blond hair and worked it into the fiber she drafted on the drop spindle. The whorl spun almost invisibly fast as her fingers slid up and down the wool. She broke off a length of yarn and held it over the fire, burning the thread to ash before touching the piles it left upon the wood.
“If you wed before you leave, she will wait until there’s no hope.”
Through the open windows, the gentle sounds of birds chirping floated inside, permeating the business ambiance. With each passing moment, Jenna’s heart beat faster and faster like the wings of a fledgling. They had a deadline to meet, and the more time passed, the less chance they had at making it.
“Have you finished those numbers yet?” Jeremy leaned against the door jam. His body’s frame took up the entire space, and then some.
“Working on it.” Jenna gestured to Kathy, her officemate who didn’t even pause in typing at the interruption.
“Gotta get it out. Today.” He left as quickly as he appeared.
“It’ll go a lot faster if you didn’t keep asking,” she murmured.
While Kathy finished the spreadsheet, Jenna awaited the magic to insert into the proposal. Everything else had been laid out. She needed to finalize the graphics on allocation of funds. While it didn’t sound exciting, she needed to make it look exciting.
“And we’re done!” Kathy said with a “tada” flourish of her hands. “Off to you.”
“Just like that? Aren’t you going to check the numbers one more time to make sure they’re correct?” Jenna drummed her fingers against the wood desk. “How–”
“Do you know? For sure? It’s impossible.” Kathy raised one shoulder. “But all we can do is our best, and hit send. You can’t let the project haunt you.”
“Got it.” Jenna placed the missing info on the pie chart, and prayed for funding for another five years.
Mick watched her intently. She returned from break and there was something…different about her. Pink cheeks. A breathlessness. Lips…swollen. Some gobshite had kissed her.
She approached with his ale, and his nose flared. “Who touched you?” he snarled.
“How do you know someone did?” Shannon’s chin jutted, her whole body screaming defiance. “And why do you care?” She slammed the glass on the table and the creamy foam on the top of the Guinness sloshed over the sides. “I may work for you, Michael O’Connor, but you don’t get a say in my private life.”
Mick swallowed his growl and forced his wolf to settle down. Ours! the animal insisted. She wasn’t theirs. Not by a long shot. And she couldn’t be. He had no room in his life for a woman. Especially not one who threatened to take up permanent residence in his heart.
She stormed away before he could retort. Turning to his brother, Ronan shook his head. “You’ll not be puttin’ me in the middle of this. I’ve told ya before—and often—that if you want the girl, go and get her.”
Mick slammed back the dark ale, gulping down half of it. “She drives me bloody bonkers.”
“What’s your wolf have to say about it?”
Mick shot Ronan a glare then deliberately finished off his Guinness. “I’ll find the bloody wanker and—”
“Do nothing,” Ronan cut him off. “You haven’t claimed her, Mick. She can do whoever she pleases.”
He was right. Dammit.
250 Irish Moonstruck Mafia Wolves words
She moves away and I feel relieved. It seems so strange. I can remember when we couldn’t bear to be apart; holding hands as we walked, prolonging contact when we couldn’t remain side by side, bumping lips and hips, entwined like flesh pretzels waiting to be baked.
How do you know when things change? Is there a sign or a limit or a souring of taste? Her mouth is different now, her teeth sharp and conical, the inner line of her jaw a serrated edge. If we tried to kiss now, using our tongues, I would be afraid, knowing her affinity for blood. As it is, we barely hug, with her knowing the power of the hunger within, the fraction of Elaine that remains growing smaller each night. She’s afraid of the creature in residence, the beast that snarls, frightened she might succumb to its needs. It would be bloody if she failed; we know that for sure.
And yet, she remains the same. Unchanging. She’s no older now than when she was twenty, twenty-five, thirty. When she smiles, the illusion breaks, her animal side leering at me, its pretence pushed aside for a while. But when she’s quiet and serene, it’s as though I’m the one who’s changed, moving away from the one I loved. There’s no security in sharing your life with the undead. Time has a habit of breaking you apart. You either accept the inevitable or you leave: there are few other options you can choose.
250words ~ twothirdsrasta.blogspot.com
“Okay, Dad,” Rebecca Swann said to Ray Bentley as she showed him old photographs, this one of her late mother and Ray’s wife of nearly fifty years. “Who’s this woman?”
“I dunno, I can’t make it out and I don’t remember anyway,” Ray said with a toss of his hand, turning toward the wall of the nursing home’s common room.
“It’s Mom, your wife Jeanne, Dad, don’t you remember?” Rebecca said and put the photo back into the pile of Ray’s black and white memories.
Rebecca saw a small group enter the common room, touring the facility as a potential home for the elderly woman toddling along with her walker. Then she heard her father take two deep sniffs, saw him turn, and watched him beam as he blurted out, “Helen?”
“How do you know…?” Rebecca said.
“Don’t you remember Helen, Jeannie? From Frenchie’s on 4th? You thought she and I had a thing going. But you know me.” Ray said with a wink.
Helen Loganski raised her gaze and saw not an 80-year-old man seated at the table in front of her. Rather, she saw the 20-year-old who had gifted her the brand of perfume she’d worn for all these years, the one called Unforgettable.
She smiled a teary smile, then broke away from her children, her arms outstretched, shouting, “Ray!”
Ray Bentley caught Helen, just as she caught him way back when. But there was no one alive who’d remember that. Not even Ray.
250 forgettable words
“Gracious evening to you, Mistress Felicia.”
Her breath caught once more, and her throat closed. Oh how she wished he truly meant those words.
“Good evening, Det. Jamison. It’s good to see you.” Damn, their interaction was always so formal, but though tonight was a private party for the members of the Underground, she and Edgar hadn’t discussed taking their relationship into the lifestyle.
He took her hand and kissed the knuckles, sending another sizzle through her. “If you have some time tonight, I’d like to discuss a few things with you privately.”
Unease dampened some of the heat and she straightened. “Is something wrong, Detective?”
He didn’t answer immediately, but casually turned her hand over and kissed the palm. “No, nothing’s wrong, Mistress.” He pulled her hand to his chest and pressed it there. “I just want some time to discuss this connection you and I have, and how to deepen it.”
She tried to curb her rising excitement. “How do you know I want to deepen it?”
A short pause and a rise in his heartbeat matched the unease in his eyes. “Don’t you? I – I didn’t come here tonight to push for too much too soon. If you’re not ready—”
“Be calm, Detective. I’m thrilled you’re asking for this. I’m sorry my joke fell flat.” She tightened her fingers in his jacket lapel. “I do want to deepen our connection and I will have time as soon as Lady Aislynn returns from her rounds.”
248 ineligible #SilverStateMysteries words
Pièce de resistance
Unless I was misreading Midge’s message, Glitch Henderson had decided that I might be open to a sweet solicitation from his body painting tenant. It was getting harder to decipher these sorts of signals. Governor Cuomo stated as much recently as he pled his jaded case. Alas, he was on his deserved heels. Or down in the dumps.
Whatever the old school was that he graduated from, there were lots of core lessons that needed to be rejigged.
The last thing I needed was a sexual misstep. Not that I made many these days. My intel on Midge was already sufficient to add serious bells and whistles to her portfolio. There was also her partner, Charlie, to consider.
Where the heck was Charlie?
Was he part of some badger game?
Whatever shenanigans Henderson and his associates were engaged in, they likely knew what had happened to Henry Samuels. There weren’t many scenarios I could imagine other than that he was on the run from them or off on some nefarious undertaking.
So, I smiled at Midge’s offer to be an “amusing diversion.”
“I’ll pass, Midge. Can’t see us ever being in sync.”
“How do you know unless you sample the goods?” she countered.
“I’m willing to sample Costco cheese puffs…they’re free. You…I doubt I can afford the dalliance. I’ll stick with my pièce de resistance…finding Henry.”
She smirked and snarled, “You’ll never find Henry. Not ever.”
I suddenly sensed that Henry Samuel was beyond my help.
You and I both know the cliches; when someone dies people say they’re so sorry, that no one ever really dies. If you’ve ever lost someone you know its all lies. The funeral I went to was no different. people were all giving their condolences. Some people were tear eyed others pretended to be so.
Someone actually asked ‘How do you know when you’re close?”
I glanced around the room they were a number of people who would be having their own funerals soon if they didn’t take better care of themselves.
In the corner was the reason I was at this circus. He looked pale and stated to sweat. This was it .A man in his thirties, he played competitive sports on weekends, ate the perfect foods and religiously looked after his body.
I stood before him and he saw me.
“You are death!” he muttered, “It’s too soon.”
“Not really. You play too many sports and your genetics gave you a bad ticker. Come on Kelvin.”
“My name is Samuel.” he cried triumphantly.
“That’s Kelvin” he cried pointing to another man standing next to the coffin.
I checked my list, no Samuel; only a Kelvin. Samuel saw me though. Why? I checked my book and stars and balloons popped before my eyes. My purgatory was over; Samuel was my replacement. His purgatory would start now. I showed him the ropes, as we took Kelvin to his afterlife and then went at last to my heavenly reward.
They had been betrayed. Skajakar kept his own counsel as he helped his wife over the red cliff face, though with her second sight Zeneba likely knew his thoughts better than he did. Light would break the northern horizon any moment, though their route to the high ground would keep them in shadows at least an hour after that.
“This isn’t just a search party. They know we’re here.”
Zeneba sat heavily behind rocks offering both cover and a view of the ascent behind them. After three years of guerilla warfare, finding advantageous positions had become second nature to them. Skajakar nodded his agreement, lining up his javelins and harpoons in a similarly defensible position.
The warship offshore had clear lines to all but one side of the island. Their forces immediately deployed to that side and cut off every egress from the island in a tightening noose. Soldiers approached intractably from the arid valley below.
Zeneba’s magic made many, including in the resistance, uncomfortable. It was disheartening to think someone sold them out after all they’d contributed to the war effort, but this was too deliberate a deployment of soldiers for an unnamed island this far from the front.
Skajakar craned his neck to see a strange foreign ship on approach. Reaching across to take his wife’s hand, the ranger did his best to smile. Zeneba squeezed his hand in response, her smile more genuine.
“We will not die this day.”
“How do you know?”
“I have seen it.”
250 Cat’s The Pajamas words
I hate buying gifts for people. But here I stand, blinking at the gift registry in my hand. The blue paper crinkles as my eyes slide over the black printed words, wondering what in the world to get my brother and sister-in-law for their baby shower.
Most of the list has been purchased. Granted the shower is tomorrow, but still. Someone could’ve left me something other than a $500 crib and a $600 stroller to buy. What does a person do with a $600 stroller, anyway? Does it come with four-wheel drive? Cup holders?
Finally, I see a note at the end: “diapers are always a good gift. Size one and two are best, and more packages of size two than size one, since baby will grow fast.”
Forty dollars and an iced latte later, I leave the store. Once I’m back in my car, my phone buzzes, and Mom’s name pops on the screen.
“Did you get anything?”
“It said diapers were good at the bottom of the list, so I went with that. What’d you get?”
“I made them a couple of outfits and bought a couple of sleepers.”
“How do you know?”
“What size to make? What to buy?”
Mom chuckles, her voice light. “I’m a mom. We know these things. Stop by when you get home and we’ll wrap gifts.”
“Sounds good. See you soon.”
I hang up and decide to get ice cream on the way out of town.
#ThursThreads Week 475 is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope to catch you next week.