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 486 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 486:
Lover of Words, Creative Writing MA, and Interracial Paranormal and Contemporary Romance Author, Nikki Prince.
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And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
“Might not be the targets.”
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!
13 Replies to “#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 486”
A supernova illuminated what should have been the night sky. Witches cowered beneath the trees, waiting— praying—that it wasn’t the sign they’d feared would come. If the Chief Warlock had awakened the gatekeepers of the eldritch powers, there would be no way to keep the elements in balance against that onslaught.
“We can still work on behalf of the Green, brother.” Dalyn cupped my shoulder, his witch-mark an angry red as the sky remained afire. “It’s not over yet. The stone rings might not be the targets they’re aiming for. We have a chance.”
A pile of dead bodies, our willing sacrifices, littered the ground around the altar slab. “I don’t know how much longer we can keep asking them to sacrifice themselves to save a dying world.”
Dalyn, only half-human in body and less than in mind, cocked his head to the side. “Come to Faerie with me. If this world is doomed, come do your duty for the Green in a realm untouched by their corruption.”
“I’m their High Priest. I can’t abandon them. Not to what’s coming.”
His eyes shimmer, and he lets his fae nature shine through—a vivid turquoise swirl around each pupil. “You are the Green’s High Priest. They would rather you serve in Fae than die to save dying humans.”
“I can’t leave them!”
He smiles then. “You won’t. I’m taking you.”
The last thing I see is a green glow of a portal spell triggering in front of me.
It was now late October. My favorite Fed, Grimshaw, paid me a visit. Unannounced, of course, the way the Feds are, the way they like to sneak up on you.
Or me at any rate.
I felt like asking him: Trick or Treat?
So, I did. No point in holding back.
Feds never laugh at my jokes. Or anybody’s. Grimshaw grinned though. Not exactly a smile but his slight facial twinge bore fleeting resemblance to a big-jawed cat about to suck the flesh off a cute little mouse.
I was that mouse.
“No trick, peeper,” he replied. “Maybe even a treat. We’re cutting you loose from the restraining order. You can dick around at your leisure.”
You can imagine this largesse took me by surprise.
I felt like asking why.
So, I did.
Again, a twinge masquerading as a grin squeaked from Grimshaw’s mug.
“Henry Samuels. That’s why. Or maybe not. Why would we tell you?”
“So, you haven’t found him?”
“We will. We have a lot of fugitive fish to fry. Samuels and his buddies might not be the targets we are aiming our arrows at. Might be, though. Need to know, peeper. Need to know. You…well…”
With that, Grimshaw was gone.
I had kept in touch with the Samuels case through my buddy cop, Vic Abrams. I knew the Feds were treading water looking for Samuels.
If they were lifting the restraining order, I had to assume they’d be following me…looking for scraps.
So be it.
1968: the year of assassinations. First MLK, then Bobby Kennedy, shot dead. Halloween celebrations more somber and macabre than usual, I go door-to-door with my two sons and their cousin Alyssa, collecting candy. Vernon has dressed as JFK, with a near-bouffant hairdo and suit. Alyssa is his First Lady, Jackie, in a mock-up of Chanel fashion. Simon, his shirt sleeves rolled up, channels JFK’s now late brother RFK. I’ve been told that their costumes are in poor taste. But these kids have done nothing wrong and, besides, I’ve a funny feeling that they might not be the targets of my neighbors’ wrath.
After climbing the driveway, we knock on the final door of the evening. Mr Malachy X Casey, chairman of the Irish-American Association, hauls open his abode to the three kids, and stares.
“What’s that?” Mr Casey asks, pointing at the string of sausages that I had wrapped like a coiled snake and stuck to the top of Vernon’s styled hair.
“That’s brains,” Vernon says. “It’s the president’s brains.”
He notes First Lady Jackie Kennedy, with the blood spilled down the front of her suit.
Then he sees the wounds on RFK’s shirt and head.
Taking it all in, he inhales deeply twice, and closes his eyes.
“What do you think, Malachy?” I ask, with an impudent grin.
“Get off my property!” he finally roars, opening his eyes wide and pointing towards the front gate.
We flee, laughing, at a leisurely pace, back down the driveway.
248 words @ragtaggiggagon
“Viper and Harley might not be the targets.”
But Neo shook his head. “Maybe not at first, but now Backlog thinks they have something valuable.” He pointed at me. “Did you find anything on Harley? Maybe in her gear or clothes or something?”
I frowned. “No. I wasn’t really looking for anything. I mean, hell, there could be a tracking bug on her gear somewhere and I wouldn’t know it.”
Neo stiffened and rose from his chair before digging through a cabinet that looked like it contained files, but really held locked drawers. He pulled out a little wand that detected electronics and straightened.
“Where’s Harley’s stuff now?”
“I left it with Karma in the main room.”
I was the first one out the door of Neo’s Lair, but Trigger and Neo followed close behind as I zeroed in on my daughter. Karma held her as she talked to Dollhouse and Numbers, both cooing over the little girl waving her baby fists as she giggled.
“Where’s her carseat?” I barked the question, but Karma simply pointed.
“What’s going on?” She bounced Harley as we made a bee-line to the carrier.
“There might be a bug on it.” Neo waved the wand over the little seat and we all collectively held our breaths. “Nothing’s coming up.”
“Let me look.” Trigger picked up the carseat and slid his hands all over it. He even felt around under the cushions. He froze. “I think I got something.”
He held up a flashdrive.
249 ineligible #ConcreteAngelsMC words
Gia’s hologram in my kitchen was a small comfort. She was still on a business trip to Paris.
“You’re not a killer, Jane. Somebody’s framing you.”
I wasn’t convinced. There was a dead body, and a lot of unanswered questions. And there were the gaps in my memory.
Then there was Apex. The technology firm that hired me as a researcher. When Jeremy, their CEO, caught me hacking he threatened me with unspeakable things unless I agreed to go undercover as a scientist for their biggest rival and steal secrets.
“The drug dealers, Jane,” Gia’s hologram wouldn’t let go. Sometimes I wish I didn’t live in the 23rd century. “You have to admit that Jeremy may have hired them to frame you.”
Yeah. That was apparent. Hanging from the warehouse steam pipes by my feet, stark naked, gave me a lot to think about. The drug dealers weapons didn’t menace me as much as their lustful grins.
“The Asians might not be the targets, Jane. At least not the main ones.” Gia’s hologram was turning sleuth. “If Jeremy got you in to steal secrets, why did he make you seduce their most brilliant scientist after the fact?”
She had a point.
But I still couldn’t remember how I got away from the drug dealers or how a scientist I was sleeping with wound up dead.Those damn gaps in my memory.
Jeremy was behind it all. But what was his scheme? And how was I going to expose him?
The year was missing.
I did not feel connected to it or the people around me. But they might not be the targets. At any rate, I was too visible…
I couldn’t find the knife. Carving a pumpkin requires the right utensils. Oozing—scoop up the goo that leaks onto the table. If I could salvage enough of the slime, I could smear it on my body and become invisible. But can an invisible entity even grasp a knife?
Forget the knife. No, don’t. Find it. Slice the pumpkin’s face—if you’re lucky, the knife will slip and travel up its arm—blood everywhere. Blackie the cat wanders around the room like an apparition, howling sounds escape from his throat like mangled newspaper. He crisscrosses the room, always two steps ahead. We circle the kitchen table in a ghostly dance. He rolls around in the dark, impossible to see.
I grab crazily into the air, grasping at nothing.
Blackie howls like the trees are on fire. Maniacal sounds leaking from my throat too, echoing his; we are one—he is me, like a shadow sewn to my feet. That’s how devils get in, how they enter your body—through the soles of your feet. When they take over, you are immobilized—you can’t control your feelings, you can’t control your consciousness, your breathing becomes shallow and non-existent.
The pumpkin leaves the room, slinking away on footless stumps. Ink drips down my face, phosphorescent green.
I am dead.
I snuck into the Hallowe’en party; I looked a lot like Marilyn Monroe. I picked this vintage white dress up at a pop-up store and it was a perfect match but where was my friend, Erin who said she was coming as Katharine Hepburn?
A security guard said into his walkie talkie. “Might not be the targets.”
I hoped he wasn’t talking about me.
Cary Grant walked up to me, asking me to dance, his friend dressed as Errol Flynn danced away with Olivia de Havilland.
“I believe this is my dance, isn’t it sweetheart?” a man dressed as Joe DiMaggio asked.
We waltzed across the room.
“Faux Marilyn, you better leave; it will soon be midnight,” he whispered looking alarmed.
“What happens at midnight”
“If you stay, you’ll find out and you might not like it!”
The clock started to strike midnight and I ran for the door; I didn’t want to be caught.
I made the door just as the clock struck twelve. The room grew misty and before my eyes everything became wispy and the air chilled. In the corner, I spotted Erin. She had a scream on her lips, as her soul was ripped from her body, by a man in black.
“Sorry about your friend, Now run, child!!” Marilyn said winking and taking Joe’s arm; before they disappeared into the ether.
I swear (as I saw the whole room of people disappear with her a long with Erin) that I heard her say, “Happy Haunting!!”
A gust teased mischievous fingers through Ronan’s blond hair. Flipping up his collar, he turned his back to the chill wind. Waves crashed against the seawall and his wolf snarled. His animal half wanted to run. The human part had no time for that.
He watched his contact approach. Apprehension poured off him and Ronan could almost smell it, even though the man was downwind. Clouds scudded across the moon but the lack of light didn’t matter. Like his wolf, Ronan had excellent night vision.
The snitch stopped in front on him, the medicinal odor of alcohol burned Ronan’s nose. The man’s eyes darted from side-to-side and the stink of scalded milk mixed with the alcohol. Apprehensive and nervous. Ronan focused. Men like this one often did stupid things. He didn’t speak, waiting for the other to start. He didn’t have to wait long.
“Look, this could get me killed.”
Ronan shrugged. “Then speak your piece and go.”
“My sources say they might not be the targets.”
“Then who is?”
The man jittered, jonesing for his next fix. “A girl.”
“That ADA. They don’t trust her.”
“Is there a contract?”
“No. Nuh-uh. They wouldn’t put that out for hire. If she’s the one, it’ll be in-house.”
“You are sure of this?”
“No, but that’s the scuttlebutt.”
The man was almost bouncing out of his shoes. “Tonight. Maybe.”
Stuffing money in the guy’s pocket, Ronan spoke into his phone. “Dev, Maura the target. Bring her to me. Now.”
250 Moonstruck Mafia WIP words
Everett Hudson killed my father. He killed my sister too. My mother hid inside a wardrobe, but he managed to find her before the police came knocking at our door.
The result was what you’d think it would be, of course.
It had all begun so innocently. My mother had let him in when he showed her his samples, his model wooden furniture bewitching her with its fine finishing. He’d promised her a dolls house of an equivalent quality made from ash, beechwood and a range of exotic hardwoods.
My father had been critical. He’d been an engineer when he’d been younger, and his eye was still as keen as it had ever been. He was sympathetic at first – he even offered the man a drink of his Sunday whiskey – but when the stranger refused it, he soon began to find fault with his work. One thing led to another and before I knew it, they were at a standoff; my father and this man who was proficient with edged tools.
If only we’d known that he was a sociopath before we invited him inside.
He killed my father first. He used a serrated bread knife, sawing across his throat. My sister froze on the spot, probably thinking he’d only attack someone who challenged him and that we women might not be the targets he’d seek out to kill. I was close to the door that led into the street: I was the one that called the police.
twothirdsrasta.blogspot.com – 250 words
The only other time I fought a Greater Spirit unprepared cost too much. Not counting my battle with the ice queen, of course. We escaped this time but I don’t like our odds for next time.
“What’re you thinking?”
Nice that Tondra’s still talking to me. I might need her.
“Just planning,” I mask my apprehension with an easy smile. “We need to lure the other Greater Spirits into some sort of trap. Preferably one at a time.”
Puca changes into a black dog to snarl at me. Ken the sword-kid crosses his arms but responds more levelly than the trickster spirit was about to. Team Yuki, as they call themselves, have really cleaned up their act since last I saw them.
“To talk. We need to sort this out without anyone dying.”
“About that; you two better get clear of Yuki, Tondra, and I.”
Ken meets my gaze unflinchingly. Maybe he’s not such a kid anymore.
“We might not be the targets, but our friends are.”
“And you!” Puca shifts to her mare form to stick her tongue at me.
“We’re not leaving,” Ken finishes.
The ice queen’s eyes are downcast. Her sorrow gnaws at the empty place inside me. She agrees with me but she’ll never send her friends away.
It’s not that I’m averse to sacrificing lives; omelets and eggs and all that. It’s just that, unlike me, they deserve their happily ever afters.
Not to mention, Puca was a friend of my late wife.
248 The Ice Queen words
Gulliver rolled over in his sleep, almost crushing a dozen small forms, scurrying out from under his huge bulk. The general called out her orders from her elevated perch, regrouping her troops. Damn the giant, she thought, not for the first time. He seemed to have a preternatural sense of danger, and she knew that if he ever woke and saw what she was doing, it wouldn’t matter that his most vital organs might not be the targets of her assault. She didn’t know a way to tell him that she was trying to help him.
His breathing calmed again, settling into deep snores that shook the ground, and the general sent out the signal to begin again. She watched as the footsoldiers erected the towers, rising as high as any structures they’d ever built, until a woman on the top would be able to look down on Gulliver as a giant herself.
From the towers came the ropes, creating a tenuous connection high in the air. The general knew that the ones who would cross the ropes were her best and her bravest, and she said a short prayer that they would survive today.
Finally, all was ready, and the only part left was the thing itself. He might not ever appreciate what she was doing today, though she hoped that if her team was able to find what caused him such pain the rages and the howling would stop. She had to try, for everyone’s sake.
#ThursThreads is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope to catch you next week.