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 480 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 480:
Book promoter and fantastic beta reader, Heidi Rundle.
And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
“You could stay.”
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 480”
Fire splashed across the scorched, skeletal remains of trees and burned-out cars and went out in a puff of smoke. It was the third dragon attack since dawn. I needed to get out there and find their queen to broker some form of treaty or die trying. The Resistance was counting on me.
“You could stay at the castle and pretend to be a hostage. You would be safe there. Your aunt is their queen. She isn’t as likely to roast you.”
I watched as two mages tried to summon a rainstorm to put out the smoldering embers. Our water supply was dangerously low. “I’m fire resistant, so she’d save the breath weapon power, but she’s more likely to eat me. She didn’t approve of my dad marrying a human. I’m sort of the black sheep— or dragon— of the family.”
“Where’s your dad?”
I looked out the window and pointed up. “See that red up there with black mottling on its underbelly? The one who took out the observation tower on Tuesday… He’s doing penance to regain his portion of the royal heritage.”
My partner, the daughter of the resistance leader, sighed. “So, you going to ask for help isn’t going to do much, is it?”
Shrugging, I eventually sighed. “It will if I pretend to be a good little half-dragon and marry into an allied, ancient bloodline who would make me give birth to a full-blooded dragonkin.” Being the princess sucked but watching my world burn was worse.
Funny how four simple words could cut so deep. Not because they were used as a weapon, but because the one who said them walked toward certain death.
“It’s time I left.”
Goosebumps rippled over Corrine’s flesh. Her palms began to sweat, her feet growing steadily more agitated in her fixed spot.
Graham rubbed the day’s stubble from his chin in his absent minded way, gazing anywhere but at her. His true emotions were so hard to read. “We’ll find someone honorable who’ll look after you when I’m away.”
Only a pitiful squeak escaped her lips, quiet and sad. “You could stay.”
“Stay?” Astonishment made Graham’s eyes like saucers. “We’re not blood, but we’re as good as.”
He took her hand, and Corrine felt renewed panic zip into her body. He’d never seen her as anything more than child, sister, companion. But she stood a woman before him, and deeply in love.
“And the only way to ensure your safety is to meet the Dragon Lord head-on. He’ll claim no more maidens. Not you. Not anyone. I’ll kill him first.”
She told herself to be brave as she brought Graham’s hand to her breast, her vision hyper focused, breath falling like thunder. “Then it’s time I’m not a maid.”
210 words @AngoraShade
Celeste and Kieran retire from the festivities as soon as it’s acceptable. I can’t help but smile as Nolan and I escort them to their new chambers. My sister has never been happier, and both princesses are the picture of joy, walking hand in hand down the moonlit corridor, giggling to each other.
“I’ll be in my room.” We stop at their door. “Don’t exactly want to hang out for the wedding night.” I wink at them, embarrassing my sister into hilarious shades of red.
Soon enough they’re inside, leaving their mages standing in the hall. Nolan looks intent to stand there all night, keeping guard.
“Come on – doubt they’d appreciate us hanging around here, either.”
Nolan glances at the door once, before following me. “I’m surprised you’re leaving them unguarded.”
“Unguarded?” I scoff. “I enchanted the shit out of their entire suite. If anything so much as breathes in that direction, I’ll know.”
“Clever.” His smile is hidden behind the mask, but I hear it in his voice. Pride warms my chest at the praise.
“But if you’re worried,” we’re at my door now, around the corner, “you could stay here.”
He hesitates, and I realize my mistake. I might be a clever mage, but he still just sees me as a princess. An unmarried princess.
“Or not.” I try not to let annoyance into my tone.
“I’ll let you know if anything trips my enchantments,” I retreat into my suite, embarrassment burning in my chest. “Good night.”
250 untitled fantasy WIP words
Swallowing the first pill activated Dominic’s gag reflex, but he got it down. As he put the other three into his mouth at once, some vomit filled his oral cavity. He swished around the pills, swallowed most of the vomit, and held the medications on his tongue, maintaining eye contact with a concerned Agnes.
“You could stay,” she said.
He shook his head vigorously, extending his hand towards the overbed table beyond his reach. She slid it before him, shifting her bedside chair to accommodate it. For a moment, compelled to silence due to the pills in his mouth, he studied a bread pudding in a plastic container, a tea in a mug-like beaker, a small vase containing three daffodils. The can of Coke hissed as he opened it. He took a gulp. Then he took a long, sustained swig.
“I don’t want to stay,” he gasped. He placed the can back onto the table.
“Your body’s telling you to reject the poison.” Agnes’s tone was hushed.
“Stop talking nonsense. I was only puking because of the size of the pills. They’re all gone now. See?” He stuck out his tongue from an open mouth. He may as well have given her the middle finger. He sat back on the propped-up pillow.
They sat quietly for half an hour.
“I’m sorry.” Dom closed his eyes.
“For being such a burden to you.”
Agnes’s eyes widened, and she stood, sprinting for the door, screaming for a doctor.
248 words @ragtaggiggagon
It’s August here in Texas; cold and rainy there.
I’ve been home for two days and can’t stop thinking about us—you send pictures of our time together—The Guinness Storehouse, Oscar Wilde in the park, Dublin Castle. The cow videos you took on the train ride to Cobh make me unbearably sad.
When I mention this, you reply, “The cows are okay—they are well taken care of.”
I am not sad about the cows, but for myself.
“What was your favorite part? And worst?”
“My favorite was you, and seeing the town. It was different than I expected. Dirtier.”
“Ah, do you miss dirty old Dublin?”
“Yes. And you? What did you like? And hate?”
“The best part was meeting you too. I didn’t like my silence most of the time, and that we didn’t do much.”
But we did do things: got soaked in the rain, ate mussels at The Summit. Barely escaped Phoenix Park before they closed the barricade. Navigated the path on Howth to admire the ocean view. Searched for Vikings hiding under the glass floor at Lidl, meandered thru the National History Museum, the National art Museum, stood transfixed by the Asian paintings in the Chester Beatty art exhibit. Found your car clamped by The Yacht Club.
Then, when my return flight got canceled, I waited breathlessly for the words that never came: “You could stay.”
since I’m no longer there,
Will the seagulls cease to cry,
And stop circling the sky?
One Dead Rabbit
“Damn,” Glitch Henderson said. “Double damn.”
There was blood aplenty, mostly coming from the neck. The gash seemed Grand Canyon deep, a less than appetizing sight. Death, I have learned, is never appealing, even if desired.
I’d be put off several meals over the coming days.
“Zeke?” I asked.
“I believe so. Harmless guy. Useful, I guess. Good for small errands. Damn, what a mess. You’re gonna report it, aren’t you?”
“Or you can. It is your place. Reporting murders and such sort of go with the turf.”
“Yeah, I know. It’s just, Christ, the robbery today…and now this…”
I had a momentary insight flash. Zeke’s throat-slashing death and the big bunny heist at Henderson’s garage might be connected.
“It’ll be your first report to them. I had the privilege of 911ing the smash and grab, or whatever that was. What was that by the way? The bunny-headed gangsters didn’t stay long…”
“Payroll. A few thousand…covered by insurance.”
“Yeah, lucky me. Look, you could stay if you want but I’ll report it. You don’t need to hang around. It would just complicate…”
I smiled. Of course, one always wants a simple murder on the premises.
As I mused, Henderson walked over to a knapsack, looked inside, and started to pull out something…then stopped and growled, ”You leaving?”
I walked over to him, demanded, “Show me!”
He pulled out a rabbit’s head mask.
“Well, do tell,” I said, “One robber bunny’s come home to roost forever.”
“You could stay.”
Maura’s head jerked. She stared at Ronan. This man… He was such a…man. All man. What did the romance novels call a male like him? Alpha. Oh, yes, he was totally an alpha. Large and in charge. Always in control. Of his world. His men. His life. His emotions. But the timbre of his voice, the fleeting plea in his eyes rocked her. He sounded unsure, a first since their initial encounter.
Ronan O’Connor was a hard man. She’d found no give in him. Ever. He was a criminal. She didn’t want to consider how much blood he had on his hands—figuratively or literally. She was fairly certain there was plenty of both. Yet here he stood in his impeccably decorated townhouse looking like… Not a boy. His face was too sculpted with defining planes and a hard jaw. Still, there was something about the way he stood, the way his gaze met hers, the way his fingers curled as he held his arms stiffly at his sides like he had to force himself to remain still.
She regarded him solemnly for several long moments before speaking. “I could.”
It wasn’t a question, but it wasn’t an answer either. Ronan fought to control his wolf. The damn thing wanted this woman with a ferocity that almost took him to his knees. In fact, if he thought that would help, he’d drop to them and beg her. He was well and truly moonstruck. And totally screwed.
250 Moonstruck Mafia Wolves WIP words
The buggy bumped its wheels against the kerb playfully. It was true. Her husband had taken the most perfect thing she had away from her and then twisted it cruelly.
“Oh, Miles,” she said. “I didn’t know what he’d do. He said you could stay. He said it meant nothing to him.”
It was a meagre, underpowered vehicle of a type that had become obsolete years ago. One of its wheels was smaller than the other three, only catching on the asphalt when it leaned to the right, spinning uselessly the rest of the time. It had a headlight hanging loosely by its wire, its globe swinging like a pendulum whenever it moved.
Gillian wept. She could see him there, everything that was left of him. The plexiglass dome on the buggy’s hood was scoured to grey, its seal missing, dirt from the road leeching inside.
At first, Miles had been an indulgence. He’d been merely a toy she could use, something she could take pleasure from. He’d always been attentive, always ready with a kind word.
He’d also been a man in almost every way, his reliability sufficient to make him controllable. He was an appliance, a fashionable alternative to a service droid, his appearance something to comment on and forget. He had an AI the size of a cabbage somewhere in his body. She’d never seen his schematics; she had no time for that.
She’d never known it could be removed: who would want to do that?
250 words ~ twothirdsrasta.blogspot.com
“Hey! Caitlin! Where’s that ship of yours?” Nikolao waved over his long bamboo rod but remained reclined.
Caitlin stepped off the incoming wave onto the beach. She doffed her high-cocked hat to her brother on her way inland.
“They couldn’t make it this time.”
Nikolao groaned half-hearted disappointment and laid his head back against the warm sand, one bare foot resting against his rod feeling for bites.
“Caitlin! When did you arrive?”
Nikolao and Caitlin’s sister, Nani, met Caitlin at the crest of the grassy hill overlooking the north beach. They had all been scrawny as kittens but Nani had filled out nicely as an adult. These last few years struck Caitlin just how much Nani looked like their mama.
“Just now,” Caitlin grinned.
“The whole island has been watching for your ship all week.”
Nani and Caitlin touched their cheeks together and proceeded inland together. Four more of their siblings dashed up too hurried to walk upright.
“Cat! Cat! Where’s your ship?! Did you bring any treasure?” Their excited voices tumbled over one another as they encircled Caitlin.
Caitlin laughed, “Afraid it just be me this year and I can’t stay.”
As their siblings writhed in disappointment, Nani turned gentle eyes toward Caitlin.
“Will you at least see Papa before you go?”
“Be he not home?”
“He’s out with Liam,” Nani shook her head.
“On Mama’s birthday? Did ye already celebrate?”
“No…” Nani lowered her eyes. “You could stay…”
Caitlin laid her ears back but said nothing.
248 Cat’s The Pajamas words
“Listen,” he rubbed his thumb over the sensitive skin on her inner wrist, “you could stay. There’s no rules that say you need to leave.”
A pang tugged at her heart, surely as painful as any physical injury. She longed to do exactly what he suggested, but it wasn’t in her future. She settled her emotions to do what she needed to do. She forced herself to act like she wasn’t affected.
“Come on. I don’t live that far away, and I can’t stay down here forever. My world—and hers—is up there, on the land.”
Together they gazed upward, watching the sunlight dance, glimmering on the particles in the water, catching the light and branching into a kaleidoscope of colors.
“I’m tired of hiding out,” Serena continued. “We only have a week left before the handoff, and everything that’s happened only proves there’s risk no matter where we’re at. I think it’s time to return home.”
He grimaced at her choice of the word “home.” “Where does she go next?” he asked.
She shook her head, slowly. “I’m sorry. I’m not able to share that information.”
“You mean after all we’ve been through, after all we’ve shared, you still don’t trust me?” Peder stepped back, letting his hand fall to his side.
“Don’t put words in my mouth. I made a promise.”
He closed his eyes for a moment, and when he looked at her again, a sense of distance wedged between them. “We better go.”
“Sierra’s from a one-night-stand between friends. I wanted to keep her, but her mother wasn’t ready for kids.” He snorted. “Frankly, neither was I, but I asked her to carry the baby to term and I’d take on all the parenting. She graciously granted my wish and we parted ways once Sierra was born.”
“And you haven’t heard from her since?”
Mike shrugged. “I get a postcard or an email every now and again, but it’s few and far between. She travels a lot as an environmental activist, and she doesn’t have time for a family. It worked out well enough for me—we were friends, but not much more than that.”
“And you have a great daughter out of the deal, right?”
He nodded. “Exactly right. I sometimes worry that Sierra doesn’t have any siblings since I come from a family with five kids, two brothers and two sisters, but she seems to do very well making friends at school. She mentioned Sedona on the way here.”
The doors to the theatre opened and the kids came out to the foyer to find their parents. “Looks like rehearsal’s done.”
“So it does. And tomorrow’s the big night.” She rose with him as they waited for their kids to come out of the auditorium. “Hey, uhm, if you could stay a little longer, I’d appreciate it. I need to check with Sedona, but I’d like to talk to you again before you leave. Would that be okay?”
248 ineligible #WIP500 words
Stretching I opened my eyes to look into pair of warm brown eyes.
“Please listen to me!”
“You’ve been away so long I thought we could talk later,” I said smiling seductively at Jaime.
“I wish I could stay.”
“You could stay.”
“I love you with all my heart Georgia but I can’t stay, my love.” Jaime said and he went out the front door,
The phone rang. I had been dreaming, I concluded; as I answered the phone.
That was odd it was Jaime’s mom. I looked at the clock it was six a.m. She was anxious about the wedding plans and couldn’t wait until a decent hour to talk to me?
“Hi Suzanne. Sorry I haven’t gotten back to on the finalization of the wedding plans but you got your invitation, right? The ballroom is booked. The caterer is booked Everything is ready for next month.” I rambled into silence thinking she’s really angry.
“Georgia, Jaime’s plane crashed. There were no survivors.”
“But Jaime was just here.” I protested.
“He was here too, but I knew before the phone rang that he was dead. He said he was coming to you.”
I described his outfit to her at the same time she described what he was wearing. It matched an outfit neither of us had seen before. We were grieving; but we both knew Jaime loved us enough to say goodbye and show us that his essence went on and that would have to keep us going.
Sirens sound in the distance as I land outside a small house in Iowa. Horton, Iowa, rarely hears sirens outside of the noon whistle. Lynda Moldanado is a young woman who passed away unexpectedly. When I walk in, her husband kneels at her side, pumping her chest.
“Come on, Lynda!” he shouts, sweat beading on his forehead.
My purple robes catch the light, the little gems on them twinkling. Lynda turns her head.
“Hi, I’m Carla. Here to take you to the afterlife.”
Lynda’s blue eyes widen, her short brown hair kinky-curly in the summer humidity. While she stares at her lifeless body, I wait for a door to open. Usually, a relative comes to collect the departed.
“Afterlife?” Lynda mumbles, as the paramedics rush in. “I’m dead?”
“Yes. Have any family members died in the last fifteen years?”
She slowly shakes her head, watching the medical team.
“I haven’t been to a funeral in years. Why?”
“If no one comes for you, I have to send you to Limbo.”
Another door opens, leading us to an empty room. Lynda sighs, wiping her eyes.
“You’ll wait here until one of the greeters comes out. They’ll walk you through the check in process.”
I turn to leave, but Lynda pulls me back.
“Uhm. You could stay. You know, til I go over.”
Well, I do have all night to finish my list. I sit down on the floor, taking out a deck of cards. Might as well pass the time.
(First attempted did not format)…
Should I Stay or Should I go Now?
“I could stay,” She offered as the last rays of sun drifted lazily across the horizon.
We had spent the best part of the day avoiding talking about our plans, as if it would change anything, knowing all too well our time was limited, but with sunset came reason.
“And you’d be miserable,” I told her, knowing all too well that no matter what she did at this point, there would come a time of reckoning, a time of ‘what if?’ it was in both our natures.
I had run this conversation through my head over a million times on the way over— and I know she had too. Every logical choice told me she needed to go. This was an opportunity of a lifetime- the thing people only dream of, but today had been perfect and logic had flown the coup along with more than a little reason, and it had been perfect. But it we were honest, it was nothing more than a day dream
“And I”d be miserable,” she agreed. She looked at the horizon as if the sun had betrayed her, and in a way it had.
I looked at her, every fiber of my being — knowing she had to go.
She smiled at me, her finger on my lips. “I can’t.”
“I know. You could stay and be miserable, or I could go with you.”
“Your life is here.”
“My life is where you are.”
And there we were.
245 Words (not including title)
#ThursThreads Week 480 is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope to catch you next week. 🙂