Welcome back to the home of Paranormal & Dauntless Romance. Today is Thursday and the last Thursday of 2021. Woohoo! New Year’s Flash. We’re in the middle of our ninth year of weekly prompts. It’s amazing we’ve gone this long! This is Week 494 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 494:
Dead Thing Specialist, Mining Geologist, and Original Book Boyfriend, George Varhalmi.
And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
“What in the world is that?”
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!
10 Replies to “#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 494”
Seventy-two attempts later, I think I had the formula right. At least it glowed a brilliant plum despite the darkness, the way it was supposed to. It was the pinch of burnt paper ash that had been missing on trial nineteen, the closest I’d gotten while locked in this tower. I was a rogue, not a potions expert; I’d only seen my ex brew this particular potion once a decade ago.
Our captors only left enough water to last through tomorrow, so they were likely coming back soon for the next round of torture. That didn’t give me much preparation time. It would have to be now.
“Kestra, it’s time to get up.” The vampire I’d come to rescue wasn’t healing from her wounds. They’d likely spiked her with suppressants.
“I can’t break us out. What in the world is that?” she asked while pointing to the magic ink.
“I’m drawing us a door out of here. I just need you able to walk through the doorway when it opens. They’re gonna feel the building shake, and I’ll have to close the doorway quickly so they can’t follow.”
She wrapped the blanket around her frail form and lurched to her feet. “I can’t withstand the sun. I’m out of reserves.”
I shrugged. “Where I’m taking us, it won’t be a problem.” I planned on taking us to my home in the caverns so Kestra could help my queen’s war efforts. “This human face? It’s a permanent glamour. I’m a goblin.”
New Yearnings for Frank
There may have been a shortage of Santa’s, but the malls were an ant’s nest of activity. I spent the day before Christmas checking out the dozen malls in the region to see if Frank might be dispensing his Santastic charms to the Covid-vulnerable, socially starved children of the city.
Boxing day and the subsequent frenetic shopping days were full of everyone but Frank.
Why so much shopping, I wondered.
Knew the answer, of course.
People wanted more of it.
Black Friday deals every day of the week.
Watching them shop was frightening.
Someone would scream, “I want that.”
Another person would scream back, “What in the world is that.”
The first person would retaliate loudly with, “Who cares what it is. I want it. It’s 60 % off.”
Like I said: frightening.
By December 30th, I had run out of steam.
Frank Luxton had gone to ground.
I decided to swing back to Kane’s Kandy Shoppe and see if Frank’s ex, Terry Kane, had had any seasonal contact.
Terry was nowhere to be seen. Pepper, the daughter, was manning the fort.
She smiled and nodded. “Yup!”
“Your mom around?”
“Nope. On a special run.”
“A special candy run?”
“For Mr. Solly Vapors…our very best customer.”
This was worrisome as Solly was not a sweet guy. Not by a long shot.
“Pepper, you haven’t seen your dad, have you?”
Her eyes darted to the back room.
“No,” she said.
YES, I thought.
The stairway into the cellar was narrow and poorly lit, and I struggled with the crate. I needed to use both hands to carry it – I was glad the piglets had been anaesthetised; it would have been impossible to manage them if they’d been conscious.
“I’m sorry you had to come,” she said, switching on another light when we got to the foot of the steps. “It would have been simpler if we could have continued as we’ve been doing. Are you sure you need to do this? It makes things so much more difficult for us.”
The cellar looked like a cave dug out from the earth beneath the house. Its walls showed the individual strata as they rose from the floor, although they were largely hidden by the planks and support beams. Ms Rawlings seemed more confident now; I guessed she had come to terms with the reasoning for my visit.
“It’s because of the size and the frequency of your orders. If you had continued with the one piglet each month, we could have overlooked your requests. Although maybe not: your latest requirement that they are delivered live raised some warning flags.”
Ms Rawlings nodded and operated the remote she’d been carrying. The door we’d come through slammed shut, and a set of bolts thudded into place, securing it. A figure then emerged from the gloom below the steps.
“What in the world is that?” I said, shivering. “And are those really horns on its head?”
250 words – twothirdsrasta.blogspot.com
The moon teased the horizon, a fat lantern glowing from an internal candle. Waves lapped the beach, a soft background lullaby. The bonfire crackled. The night was perfect, Sean decided. Bridget curled at his side the temperature was just cool enough, and they were alone. Until they weren’t. He lifted his nose, inhaled, and almost growled.
“What in the world is that?”
Of course she’d see the interloper. Bridget’s face was ghost pale as she pointed a trembling finger. He sighed. Knowing he’d eventually have to explain about his genetics to the woman destined to be his mate and actually doing so? Not so easy.
He decided to stall. “What’s what?”
Her voice snapped. “That…thing.”
“A big dog?”
She twisted and punched his biceps. Hard. He forced his mouth to remain neutral. It took all of twenty seconds before he lost the battle and he grinned. “Ow? Was that supposed to hurt?”
Turning away from that thing—a large timber wolf, her temper bubbled. “Are you laughing at me?”
“No, love. Never.” He gathered her into his arms and glowered at Bowie’s wolf over the top of her head.
“You’re like the others, aren’t you?” Bridget sounded…disappointed. In him.
Fuck him, she knew? “Who spilled the beans?
“Fiona. She thought I knew.”
“I meant to tell ya, love, but…”
“Hard to explain changing into a wolf, yeah?”
That was the understatement of the year. “Yeah.”
“I think it’s cool. My boyfriend’s a werewolf.”
“Shifter,” he corrected. “Wolf shifter.”
250 Boston Wolves WIP words
The drone arrived precisely on schedule, but narrowly missed an animal sanctuary and a power grid as it landed.
“What in the world is that?” Gia said.
“Well, it didn’t hit anything this time,” I said.
“I still don’t trust these things,” Gia said as we climbed in. Yeah, I didn’t either, but in the 23rd century, self-driving drones were the most convenient and least expensive method of travel.
“We have our orders, Gia. Get to D.C. and disrupt communications before Jeremy Blaine floods the channels with his propaganda.”
Jeremy Blaine was CEO of Apex Technologies and de facto leader of the country now that democracy was dead. Big Tech had successfully staged a coup and Apex was the dominant force. Jeremy Blaine was also my lover. Ex-lover.
“If we survive the trip,” Gia said, gripping the seat in front of us. Gia and I were resistance fighters. We joined after Jeremy framed me for murder and had his drug cartel friends abduct me. I escaped, but it was all too harrowing.
“Message our contact, Gia, and give him our ETA.”
“That might be a problem, Jane. I lost my phone.”
“What? How did that happen?”
“I think it was somewhere between that food stall in Camden Market where we ate churros and the fan boat across the Thames.”
“Never mind. I can access him with my microchip.” I smiled to reassure Gia.
That was before the drone made a weird sound and we were sent spinning out of control.
The footprints shimmering in the wind-swept scrub kept marching onward, and he had no better choice than to follow them.
This is a wild goose chase, his father’s voice echoed in his head.
If you really loved us you would’ve stayed, Matrica’s voice added to the chorus.
You’re a liar. There’s nothing there, Majir’s voice taunted him.
You’re all right. I’ve found nothing but shimmering footprints…
The words should’ve instilled him with defeat and fear, but he was just too tired, hungry, sore, and thirsty. He remembered he was doing something, going somewhere, but his mind couldn’t find the motivation or purpose, and he stumbled to a stop.
Where am I going?
No answer came back to him, and even the wind seemed to howl, I don’t know, I don’t know…
He swayed, searching for the footprints ahead of him, but everything grew blurry. He tried to take another step forward, but his feet had grown too heavy to lift and wouldn’t move. Blackness crowded the edges of his vision and he dropped to his knees.
I gotta keep going so I can see her again… What? See whom? A vision of a woman in ornate armor, reaching for him. The same woman he’d seen in his dreams when he was a child. Now she held out her hand to him.
He tried to reach for her, but the blackness rushed in on him and he had one last thought.
What in the world is that?
246 ineligible #LOTN words
While Cassie had never tried her hand at cooking before, she’d watched plenty of cooking shows with her friend Joan. The chefs always completed the meals within the show’s allotted hour. If they could do it, so could she. After all, how hard could it be?
Choosing to make a soufflé to impress her friends, Cassie started cooking. She measured and mixed. She sliced and diced and was in the middle of sautéing when her doorbell rang.
“Joan! What are you doing here? You’re early.”
Joan looked at her watch. “No, I’m not. You told me to be here at 6:00 and it’s 6:00 on the nose.”
“Shit, I don’t even have dinner in the oven yet.”
“Can I help?” Joan’s question came just as another knock rapped the door.
In answer, Cassie handed her a bottle of wine and pointed to the glasses, running back to the kitchen.
Joan greeted the other guests as they arrived, handing out generous portions of wine in the process.
As the group of friends waited for Cassie’s big reveal, Joan reminded them to be kind. “This is the first time Cassie has ever cooked, so be nice.”
Cassie called her guests to the table and brought out the meal, setting it before her friends.
“What in the world is that supposed to be?” The words slipped out before Joan could stop them. Seeing tears well in Cassie’s eyes, Joan grabbed Cassie’s arm, and moved toward the door. “I mean, who’s up for pizza?”
That Which Endures
Angel pulled the headset from her ears and rubbed her temples before shaking her head.
Her team commander looked at her and tilted his head.
“What?” he asked.
“They know we’re listening in.”
“How can you tell?”
Angel snorted and pushed the transcript across the table.
~Begin Transcript ~
Woman: “That is something you need to be aware of.”
Lock: “What in the world is that?”
Woman: “That, my friend, is a word that is overused.”
Lock: “Isn’t that a bit of a circular reference?”
Woman: “That it is.”
Lock: “So, again I ask what is that?”
Woman: “It could be this or that, or that and not this— it really depends on the situation.”
Lock: “What about this and that?”
Woman: “That too”
~End Transcript ~
“Some sort of code?” the Commander asked?
Angel rolled her eyes. “Code for ‘We know you’re listening and we’ve gone to overusing pronouns while we slowly drive you insane.’” She explained.
“Is it working?”
Again Angel shrugged. “I was crazy to begin with so it’s all good.”
“That it is,” the commander sighed. “That it is.”
Angel glared at him.
185 words not including title
Iowa weather hasn’t been right in a long time, but this takes the cake. Lightning dances on the western horizon, as a good old fashioned summer storm blows in from South Dakota at the end of December. It’s the roiling, singular, blacker than black cloud coming right at me that’s of concern. I’ve seen tornados. I’ve seen super cells. Hell, I’ve photographed what’s called The Mothership of super cell clouds. But never have a I felt targeted by a cloud before.
“What in the world is that?”
My brother’s eyes widen as the wind whips freezing rain against my windows. Hail pings the roof as the cloud descends into my front yard. The weeping willow bends and sways as a figure takes shape in the storm. A huge, black, sleek horse thunders toward my door, its rider swathed in billowing black robes. The rain changes to snow as the rider dismounts.
I should’ve known.
The One True Death walks through my walls and leans his gleaming black scythe against the hall tree. He loves to make an entrance, the grander the better.
“Happy New Year!”
He throws one skeletal hand up and confetti covers the three of us. Laughing, I shake my head, but in the spirit of the moment, I hand him a carboard horn. The clock strikes midnight and we make a racket inside while Mother Nature makes a racket outside. A summer storm on New Years Eve? Nothing is ever normal with Death around.
#ThursThreads Week 494 New Year’s Edition is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope to catch you in 2022!