Welcome back to the home of Paranormal & Dauntless Romance. Today is Thursday and that means it’s time to start flashing. Plus it’s my birthday! We’re at the beginning of our ninth year of weekly prompts. It’s amazing we’ve gone this long! This is Week 478 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 478:
Dead Thing Specialist, Mining Geologist, and Original Book Boyfriend, George Varhalmi.
It’s my birthday and I’m celebrating. And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
“You need to be careful.”
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!
17 Replies to “#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 478 – And Siobhan’s Birthday”
You need to be careful, little mage.
The warning echoes in my mind. But the more I think about it, the more it sounds like a threat. The unspoken ‘or else’ at the end of the sentence gets louder with every passing moment. Before I realize it, I’m pacing.
“Relax, Nora. Please.” Celeste rubs her temples. “Carving a hole into the floor isn’t going to make those shoes any more comfortable.”
She’s right, of course. I can already feel blisters forming. The dress is heavy, too, the multilayered skirt swishing with every turn, coming close to making me lose my balance. Celeste – more accustomed to formal wear – lies perfectly still on the bed, managing to lounge without wrinkling her similar dress.
I should tell her about the warning, about the daydream that felt a little too real for comfort. But there’s no use freaking her out, too. Underneath my gloves, my palms are soaked.
Someone knocks on the door, the sound making me jump and nearly splitting my ankle in half.
“Come in!” Celeste doesn’t bother moving.
Kieran enters, followed by Nolan. My eyes lock onto his. Was he struck by the same vision? Celeste gets up with a smile for her future wife before hooking their arms together.
“Ready?” Nolan offers me his arm. I take it, if only for stability.
“Your mask – no runes?”
“They said no armor.”
We reach the ballroom and wait for the doors.
“Why does this feel like a trap?”
“Because it probably is.”
250 untitled fantasy WIP words
PS Happy Birthday!
Thank you very much, Katheryn! <3
She wiped smears of dirt and blood from her face as she looked in the mirror. Her hair was a mess; she’d cut out the knots days ago. No one was around to tell her she was too little to cut her own hair. She knew her birthday had been sometime around now, when tulips came up. She remembered her fourth birthday— it was before Grampa came back and had to be buried again. Was she six now? Seven?
Her bandages were already falling off the blisters on her hands. She’d come in for fresh ones. If she was lucky (and when had that happened recently?) she had enough food and water to stay up in the treehouse until her hands were better or Dad came back. She just had to climb out the window and cross the tree branch to the little room. The dead couldn’t climb trees that high, and the living wouldn’t get through the door before she could escape across the rope bridge to the other tree. It had been a good safehouse; there was just too much blood downstairs, and that would draw the dead.
“You need to be careful,” she told her reflection. It was what Dad said before he went to find a new safehouse. He wasn’t back yet. She wasn’t going to think of what that meant. It was going to be hard enough finding the words to tell him she’d had to bury Mama yesterday.
“Here you go, Greg.” Marilyn handed Greg a bowl full of chili with a side of toast. His eyes met hers as his focus shifted away from the blazing bonfire and he accepted the meal gratefully.
“What’s mine is yours.” She beamed.
“Thank you.” Maintaining eye contact, he lifted the bowl to his face and slurped a mouthful of the sauce between his lips. “Delicious,” he said when he swallowed, his Adam’s apple bobbing in a wavelike motion. “Why are you so nice to me?”
She threw her eyes around the camp.
“Not many others to be nice to,” she said discreetly.
“You paint a grim picture,” he said.
“I don’t have to,” she said, nodding her head across the bonfire. “You need to be careful round here. You, generally. Not you specifically.”
They watched as two men exchanged a flurry of fists on the camp’s far side, one of the two staggering dangerously near to the flames as he fell.
Marilyn took the perch next to Greg and watched him eat, glancing at him occasionally.
A pigeon landed at their feet with a flap of wings, bouncing once. Greg tore a corner off a slice of toast and shifted his weight forward, reaching out to drop the food before the bird. The pigeon pecked at the bread, breaking the tiny piece into further crumbs which it gobbled up.
“Our message has been answered,” Marilyn declared, as she stooped forward and gently cupped the pigeon in her hands.
249 words @ragtaggiggagon
Maura stared at the answering machine. She poked the button again. The whispery voice ghosted from the speaker. “You need to be careful.” Click
Goosebumps pebbled her bare skin as a shiver spiraled around her backbone. She didn’t recognize the voice. And she had been careful. She’d avoided Ronan O’Connor like the plague. He still managed to appear in close proximity but she ignored him. She had too.
Heir apparent, she reminded herself. Irish mob. A dangerous man with dangerous pursuits and dangerous friends. Trouble should be his middle name. Yet there was something…there. Between them. He’d brush against her in a crowd and she’d suddenly feel safe. And desired. Like he’d always protect her even if he was busy kissing her. No! That way lay dragons.
Her cell phone rang and she jumped. Heart pounding, she stared at the screen. ALEX CALLING. Her boss. And the man she was investigating. She ignored it. Her house phone rang. After the voice mail instructions, there was only a click. Someone hammered on the front door and rattled the doorknob.
A man appeared through her back door and she choked back a scream as he held his index finger up to his lips. She recognized him as one of Ronan’s. He beckoned and she scuttled to him, grabbing only the clutch holding her keys, ID, and credit cards. No cell. Phones could be traced.
“Yeah, goons’re at the door but I’ve got her,” he said into his cell. “She’s safe now.”
250 Boston Irish Mob Wolves WIP words
He stared at the flames six split chunks of maple from the truck bed made, never noticing how her brown eyes reflected them, doubled. Nor how her heart beat twice as hard since the accident.
“I doubt you planned this. Too out-of-the-blue, even for you. Too many moving parts,” he said.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean for any of this to happen. But now that it has, I’m kinda glad it did. You know, we haven’t cuddled like this since…”
“Are you cold?”
She kissed him and noticed how his cheek away from the fire was almost as cold hers was hot. She pressed her cheek against his.
“So what are we going to do about this?” he said.
“Tomorrow morning. For now, I just want to be here under this blanket, the fire crackling, moon shining, the loons looning by the lake”
“Yes, being in the moment and dealing with what comes in that time.”
“Like large rocks hidden in the brush?” he said.
“Like nature revealing itself.”
“Like broken axles on the F-150 loaded with firewood and unexpected…”
“I wanted to. Is that so bad?”
“No, but you need to be careful”
“I thought I was. But I guess I was looning.”
“In the moment.”
“Yes. You know how when things are too heavy and the momentum builds, you just can’t stop in time and stuff happens. Right?” she said.
“Yeah. So you gonna…”
By morning, their fire was out.
249 somewhat unspoken words
“Marbles!” Kendra threw her arms around the demon. “I’m so glad to see you. I’ve missed you, sweetie.”
Sweetie? Phinn rolled his eyes. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“Hey, she’s saved your ass quite a few times so you need to work on your animosity.” Kendra narrowed her eyes before turning back to the tracker demon. “Show us the way to Summer, Marbles. We need to visit Phinn’s mom.”
“What? Since when are we visiting my mother?”
“Since I’m pretty sure she’s the only one who can help us get out of this situation and this realm.” She waved her hands at him to get moving. “Unless you know how to get us back home?”
He scowled. “No.”
“Well then.” She crouched in front of the demon. “Can you find Phinn’s mother?”
“You know you need to be careful around that thing, right? And bringing it to my mother’s house is a recipe for disaster.”
Kendra rolled her eyes. “The only recipe for disaster we have goin’ on is staying here. Marbles, show us the way.” She rose to her feet and waited for the tracker demon to pivot.
The insane creature shot a look over its shoulder at him and he got the distinct impression it was tired of his antics. What the hell? But Marbles turned its attention toward the southern woods and strode off into the snow. Kendra followed in its footsteps without a backward glance. Phinn had no choice but to trail after them.
249 ineligible #CloudburstColorado words
Mom’s in front of me, eyes wide, hay lazily falling from the fork in her hand. Heart pounding, eyes wide, my mind goes blank.
“What is behind you?!”
What’s behind me is my boss, Horace, The One True Death: black robes billowing in an ever-present breeze, skeletal face; he’s supposed to be invisible to humans. Maybe, if I act scared, she’ll think I don’t know any more than she does. But Horace doesn’t scare me, even with his scythe glistening the early morning light.
The fork clatters to the floor. Her rubber boots have always had this annoying squeak when she walks but I can’t hear it now over the thudding of my heart. I register the squeak a moment after she’s behind me, one hand reaching for my boss.
He suddenly fades from view. “I did not think she would try to touch me!”
Mom stumbles into me, and I shift to maintain balance. I help her stand and she shakes herself.
“You need to be careful where you stand, Carla,” she admonishes me. She runs a hand over her frizzy ponytail. “Could’ve sworn there was a skeleton in here. Maybe I should cut back on the sweets before bed.”
I turn to Horace, who disappears, as Mom returns to cleaning her horse’s stall. I knew he could wipe minds, but I never thought he’d do it to my own mother. Shaking myself, I huff out a breath; I am going to have a talk with Horace tonight!
It’s not often I feel that I have entered a dark tunnel, a narrowing gap telescoping down into a constricting, snakelike gullet of oblivion.
It is a sinister spiral best avoided.
I hate dark tunnel metaphors.
This case would not let me escape.
Either the tunnel or the metaphor.
In my early discussion with Glitch Henderson, I had not picked up this murky sense of Henry Samuels. Sure, I had begun to feel that something was off about the man, how he had lived his life, kept aspects separate from others. I’d begun to imagine that he had any number of lives going on. I knew of stories of people, men mostly, who had at least two families.
Gluttons for punishment, a sick sort of human greed.
Any sympathy I had for Samuels was rapidly abating. One very personal reason was that I had avoided having even one family. It just hadn’t happened.
Maybe I’d reached my own tipping point. Relationships can easily go sideways. Maybe I’d seen it too often. You need to be careful who you let get close.
The fact that some waltzed into two, and in rare cases, three whole other lives flabbergasted me. Juggling lies, sharp truth knives that could slash the skin of your fabrications in an instant, was crazy-making.
More worrisome was how a devoted twelve-year-old Louella Samuels, my client, might handle whatever set of realities her father was living.
Whatever else I did, I intended to protect her.
Commander Saffi Bashar awkwardly saluted Lord Kader’s imposing emissary and hurriedly excused herself from the bridge. Her thoughts raced as she descended the stairs to the deck as decorously as she could in her haste.
“How could you do this, Jasna? Everyone knows I’m the screwup!”
Sword Admiral Jasna Saifullah had just offended the representative of one of the most powerful men in the sultanate and then disappeared down her private staircase none of the giants fit through. By the time Saffi made it the long way around to their shared cabin her mind was bursting as after five hours in her lab.
“Jasna!” Saffi’s words loosed as she slammed the door open. “What the Brink? You need to be…”
“Careful.” The human cut her giant first officer off with a flat warning and a cold look.
Saffi cleared her throat and breathed. She closed the door with her back and slid down to a squat, fists clenched in her hair. More breathing and she tried again.
“Admiral Saifullah, do you understand what you just did? The nobles are dangerous. Super dangerous.”
The admiral’s small smile did not make Saffi feel better.
“Lord Kader’s hated you since you made captain and you just gave him an excuse to come after you.”
“Thank you, Saffi,” Jasna’s tone and posture softened. “It’s all part of the plan.”
Politically misstepping, smiling, and now softening? This wasn’t the hardass human Saffi knew. Then again…
“Give him enough rope.”
248 Cat’s The Pajamas words
“Can you swim,” he asked, dipping his paddle. “The water’s a thousand feet deep here. There could be a submarine cruising below us and we’d not know.”
The thought of a steel leviathan packed with uniformed men did little to bolster my confidence. The shore was a long way away, too far for me to think I’d be able to reach it. The boat seemed smaller now too, much smaller than it had a minute ago. The sea had become an ocean and we were heading the wrong way. A Kraken could rise up and swallow us and no one would be the wiser.
“How do you do this,” I said. “You’d need to be fearless to do this. I trust you, of course I do, but how do you get to be so brave?”
Lewis pulled back against the water, his shoulders bunching as he drove the coracle forward. It squirmed when he swapped sides, our heading swinging from one side to another. The coastline was still behind us though, its dark line steadily getting fainter.
“You need to be careful. Choose the days you go out. You have to keep an eye on the weather, know when to turn back. The sea’s unforgiving, it won’t listen to your prayers. You make one mistake, and the chances are you’ll just disappear. Feed the fishes. Salute the sharks.” He smiled a cruel smile, letting the tiny boat drift to a halt. “But being a little crazy too helps, of course.”
twothirdsrasta.blogspot.com ~ 250 words
Happy birthday, Siobhan!
Thank you very much, Mark!
Staring at the baby girl lying in my arms; I was truly happy. My son and two daughters to love I was blessed. The ladies arrived to admire and give gifts to my three-month-old daughter.
My three-year-old daughter Ifanna doted on her new sister, Rhoswen. One guest Matilda of Bangor fond over Ifanna. I watched her closely as I didn’t trust her.
“What a beautiful sister,” Matilda said.
“We found Rhoswen in a rose bush.” Ifanna cried.
I laughed as did all the other ladies.
“Such and imaginative child,” Matilda simpered.
“She is she shall be the cyfarwydd, someday,” I admitted.
“Nonsense that is a male position, ”Matilda and some of her friends protested.
“King Edwin decreed she can be the storyteller,” I declared to gasps.
The party soon broke up and I had to speak with Ifanna again when everyone was gone.
“We never speak of how the fairies gave us Rhoswen,”I cautioned.
“Because she is ours now, and if we speak of it; someone may take her.” I explained, ”People must never now that magic fills the throne.”
Ifanna wiggled her fingers and pixie dust filled the air along with giggles from Rhoswen as she flew through the air and into my arms.
“Ifanna, remember, contain the magic, so, that no one sees your legacy.”
“I will mother,” she cried and I smiled all was well, Iffanna would hold her counsel. No one, but Edwin and I would know that magic had taken the throne of Gwynedd.
250 words @SweetSheil
Sewing with the Reaper
Being marked for death isn’t as easy as it sounds.
Okay, getting that way was easy. When your job is enforcing the law and certain criminal elements tend to take that as a personal affront— it’s almost a given. I am, after all getting in the way of them making doing business.
On my part, it wasn’t personal until they tried to kill me. It was subtle at first.
Let’s face it, you need to be careful, but that’s true for everything. When my husband was on the job, I’d often tell him, “Forget all this with the shield or on it, BS— come home.”
He did, until he didn’t. Now I’m the one with the shield and an ax to grind.
So many mixed metaphors, and they’re all are martial. It makes sense, most of the old philosophers were warriors of one kind or another— that was the world we lived in.
I realized that the car that almost hit my while I was directing traffic was a little too precise, close enough to make me take a step back, not close enough to be a direct threat, but a fall can be as good as a hit, when you’re standing on the edge of an embankment.
The only thing they hadn’t thought of was that you can’t kill the dead – and now I’m looking for company. They aren’t going to like how this ends, but as I patch up my uniform pants, I realize – they asked for it.
250 words, not including the title
#ThursThreads Week 478 is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope to catch you next week.