Welcome back to the home of Paranormal & Dauntless Romance. Today is Thursday and that means it’s time to start flashing. We’re in the middle of our ninth year of weekly prompts. It’s amazing we’ve gone this long! This is Week 495 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 495:
College professor, equality enthusiast, and romance author, Louisa Bacio.
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And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
“I should’ve known.”
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!
23 Replies to “#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 495”
Jazz flipped the light switch and sighed as nothing happened. “I should’ve known Ken didn’t get a generator.” He had a headache starting, a dull one that would be a migraine by lunch. He considered relocking the door to let someone else discover the disaster waiting, but he needed this job. Jazz found what he’d expected: tubs of partially melted ice cream. He didn’t want to deal with this alone. He’d hoped the power outage was limited to home, but it was not his lucky day.
He used his cellphone to call Ken, but nothing connected and it just rang when he tried again from the office phone. He only knew one landline… He hadn’t lived at home for a few years, but he knew the number by heart. “Hey, Mom.”
“Jazz?” His mom started sobbing. “Where are you?”
“Scoopies. What’s wrong?”
His dad grabbed the phone. “The news said there’s been some sort of contaminant causing an outbreak. We should lock all doors, stay away from windows, be very quiet, and not drink any city water.” A muffled sound came in the background, and he heard his parents running. “Going to the basement. I’m glad we have a long cord. The water is turning people into mindless monsters. They say it starts with a headache, and then they get really thirsty before they start attacking in packs.”
“You’re pranking me, right?” His mouth went dry as he spoke, and he reached for the water bottle in his bag. Crap.
Maura looked up as her office door slammed against the wall. Her boss stood in the doorway, red-faced and snarling.
“I should’ve known,” Alex screamed at her. He marched in and raged around her office. “You’ll pay for stabbing me in the back likes this.”
Stunned, she huddled in her chair, wondering if she should call security. Problem was, would the cops who answered take Alex’s side, or hers? He was the District Attorney after all, and she’d just released their prime suspect on bail.
Spit flew from Alex’s mouth as he spewed obscenities. When he called her the “C” word, she found her courage.
“Mr. Crenshaw!” Her cold voice cut through his hot vehemence like an arctic blast on a sweltering summer day. As he stalked toward her, she regretted calling his attention to her. Before he could corner her behind the desk, more rage filled the room, washing over her in palpable waves.
Ronan O’Connor loomed in the doorway. “You touch her, Crenshaw, I promise you’ll be drawin’ back a bloody stump.”
Alex froze, whirling.
Maura’s shoulders slumped in relief. She flashed Ronan a look, hoping he’d understand. “Come to gloat?”
Ronan shrugged. “What’s to gloat about?”
“You won. I’d have thought you’d be happy about this turn of events.”
“Oh, I am.” A self-satisfied smile appeared on his too-handsome face.
Alex glowered at Maura. “We’ll finish this later.” He pushed past Ronan and disappeared.
“Are you all right?”
Maura shook her head. “No.”
“You will be,” Ronan promised.
250 Boston Mob Wolves WIP words
NOTE: NSFW tale
Hermione’s face heated and she grinned as she finished drying her hair with the towel and hung it over the chair in her room. But the sight of Chester on his back with his hand wrapped around his cock as he masturbated was one she wouldn’t soon forget. Glory, he was sexy and far better built than she’d first surmised.
When she’d initially heard him moan, she’d cracked the door to his room open to see if he was okay.
And holy shit, he was more than just okay.
He was gorgeous with hair the same color as on his head running across his pecs and arrowing down to his groin. His chest and belly had sculpted muscle, more so than she expected in a scientist, and his biceps and forearm bunched as he stroked his hard shaft. She stood there a few heartbeats too long before she remembered to retreat and shut the door.
I should’ve known not to open the door.
She grabbed her brush and swiped at her hair to comb out the tangles on the long side, thinking about the flush on his skin and the moans he emitted. Her heart raced and her nipples pebbled against her shirt in arousal. She put down the brush and sat in her chair, trying to ignore her aching core.
Damn, he’d been so beautiful. She had no idea what he’d been thinking of, but whatever it was, it had turned her on just to watch for a moment.
250 ineligible #Sirens words
The bottle lay against her. Its stopper was missing, most probably lost under the divan. She’d fallen full length onto the carpet, her hand reaching out, her face turned away toward the gloom beneath the bed. I couldn’t tell if she was breathing, but I suspected the worst. She was never one to pretend or play-act.
I’d come today because she’d called me, phoning me after a year of us not having spoken. It had been a surprise to hear her voice, remembering the last time we’d shared a space, my feeling being there’d be a crush of glaciers rolling across the Congo before we did this again.
It was cold in her bedroom, my breath frosting the air.
The bottle was blue and made of thick glass, deep ridges running along its sides. I didn’t remember picking it up, common sense suggesting I should have left it alone, not disturbed the scene of the crime. A forensic specialist could have lifted fingerprints from it, collected evidence for the inevitable murder case that would follow me finding her body in her home.
I should’ve known better. I could be a suspect. Even if she’d died of natural causes, there’d be an inquest, an investigation to discover how she’d died. My being here could be seen as an opportunity; our very public disagreements motive enough for me to be considered guilty of the crime.
I dropped the bottle and kicked it under the bed.
I should never have come here today.
250 words – twothirdsrasta.blogspot.com
A funnel of mist swirled, the thickest vapor that Cheyanne had ever seen. The beach cities often issued a “dense fog” advisory, but even then it happened outside. Never inside a house.
“Hello? Is anyone there?”
The form shifted, taking shape into the rough outline of a human body. The features of the face extended, morphing
“I should’ve known it was you.” She stepped back, slowly, until she brushed against the wall of books.
The enemy of her family stood between her and the room’s only exit. Trapped. She reached behind her, grasping a hardback tomb.
“Sorry Norton.” She hurled the poetry anthology at the figure, and it busted the diaphanous material, splitting the head and body into two halves. The heavy book clamored to the hardwood floor.
Before Chey fully reacted, the shape knit itself back together, swaying.
“You witch!” the specter of a woman pointed a finger at her, leaving tendrils of cloud-like substance in its movement. “You will pay for that!”
She shut her eyes, holding her palms out at her side and called upon the power of her element.
Cheyanne vowed not to use her abilities five years ago, when she’d split with her sisters, and now nothing. At one point, she’d be able to tap into her emotions, anger and fear being the most powerful, and defend herself.
But it was as if disowning her magical upbringing went both ways: In her time of greatest need, her power deserted her.
245 words (not eligible)
My first thought was, “I should’ve known better, should’ve guessed what he might do right at the get-go.” Guys like Frank Luxton, they take everything. And when there is nothing tangible left to smash and grab, they steal hearts. In this case, his daughter’s heart.
And maybe his ex-wife’s life as well. If Terry Kane had gone to make a candy drop at Solly Vapors, I had no doubt Solly would do what he felt like to get Terry to talk.
“Peppermint?” I began to ask…
“Pepper. Please. Pepper.”
“Pepper, I’m just doing a job. A simple job. And I don’t even like the guy who hired me. Trust me, please. I realize what I consider simple is probably anything but…”
As I made my pitch, I pointed to the back of the Shoppe. I wanted her to know that I was pretty sure her father was cowering in the back somewhere, somewhere amongst the kitchen goodies, the candies in progress.
She looked frightened. I whispered, “I’m not gonna hurt your father. However, I need to talk to him.”
“DAD,” she screamed as I made for the back room. Frank had heft. It slowed him down. The very thing that made him an adequate Santa Claus made him easy to wrangle. He was huffing and puffing like an old kettle just as I grabbed him as he reached the rear door.
“Running ain’t your forte, Frank. Let’s palaver.”
He gave it up.
Frank was finally showing good sense.
Hannah, who was also his mother, only referred to family and close friends by their first names.
He didn’t know Daisy, but he’d played with Davida and her sister Dani when they were kids.
Jolted recognition caused him to turn away. He felt as tongue-tied as the day he’d kissed her in the backyard treehouse. He thirteen and she ten. They were pretending to be boyfriend and girlfriend to make Dani jealous. He couldn’t remember if their ploy worked, but he never forgot that first kiss. He had no idea how to express the explosion of emotions that gushed through him then. Apparently, at thirty-two, he still didn’t.
He closed his eyes and that last memory of them focused. Both girls and their mother stood in the doorway in tears, saying goodbye.
Tiny shock waves zinged through his body. He glanced at her. My God! She’s as beautiful as her mother.
As if she felt his stare, she squinted through the sunlight at him and donned a pair of brown-tinted glasses, but not before the light sparkled on her eyes.
Quentin stared briefly at their pale blue depths. They were identical to Dani’s, down to the golden starry rays around the pupil. He looked at the floor to hide his reaction.
Dani was dead, murdered, and so was her mom. Davida had been secreted away into protective custody. Right now, though, she looked stunning as a halo surrounded her.
Embarrassment colored his face. “I should’ve known her.”
“Holy shit,” I said out loud and grabbed the controls of the self-flying drone as the ground came up faster and faster on us.
“Pull the red lever, Jane,” Gia said. I swear my best friend was actually enjoying this. Having no clue myself of what to do, I followed her directive.
“Jane? Gia? Can you hear me?” It was Sam, our AI.
“Yeah. We landed this freaking drone in some hayfield, Sam, but we’re okay.” I turned to Gia. “I should’ve known it was a mistake to fly in these.”
Now our mission was really in jeopardy. We were supposed to be in Washington, D.C., to stop Jeremy Blaine before he could put the finishing touches on a coup that would end democracy. And we only had four hours.
“Gia, Apex Technologies is detaining people they see as threats in Area 251, right?”
“Yeah. What are you thinking, Jane?”
“Well, what if their CEO ordered the detainees returned to D.C.?”
“It would be chaos.”
“Exactly. Jeremy Blaine would have to cancel his big event and deal with the crisis.”
I could sense Gia’s skepticism, but I had a plan. If Sam, the most advanced Artificial Intelligence model in the 23rd century, could get an encrypted message to the Resistance, we might have a shot. I discussed the details with Gia.
“I dunno, Jane,” Gia said. “I mean in theory it’s a good plan.”
“What could go wrong, Gia?”
“That’s what you said when we got in that drone.”
250 Words (from my dystopian WIP)
‘I should’ve known.’ I glared at my traitorous partner as the three of us stood in the centre of the safehouse. We were all out of each other’s reach but the tension was palpable.
‘What did you do with the money?’ Fabio’s hands balled at his sides; I could see his muscles were tensed, ready to spring.
‘Put it somewhere you’ll never get it. And I’m afraid recordings of the pair of you discussing the job and also safely tucked away so I’ll just be off.’ Eliot smiled that annoying, supercilious grin of his.
‘If you think…’ Fabio’s words were cut off by the gunshot. The gun looked very strange in my hand; it didn’t feel like it was my finger on the trigger. Eliot’s face contorted in confusion as the red bloomed on his pristine white shirt. He felt to the floor in an ungainly heap.
‘Seven years of my life and he thinks he can do this to me?’ My voice was hollow, shaking almost as much as the gun in my hand. Fabio took stock of his surroundings and gave a small shake of the head.
‘Well, I suggest you clean up your mess and get out of here. And this better not come back on me.’ He was up the stairs and away in an instant. I stood there, motionless for a while.
‘You enjoyed that didn’t you?’ Eliot groaned as he pushed himself up.
I grinned at him. ‘Immensely.’
John Paul inserted his key in his truck door, and stared at his reflection in the window, “I should’ve known.” He shook his head as he got in. “I should’ve known. It’s how they are.”
He thought about it a minute, then got out of his truck, pulled his Confederate flag out of his truck bed, and put it on display in it’s stand. “Don’t guess they can fire me now.” He loved that flag. It reminded him of a simpler time, before all the crap that came along and wrecked everything.
“They’ll never understand.”
He got back in his truck, and started home. Sure, home was a single wide trailer in a trailer park. But, it was what he could afford. He knew dinner would be ready when he got there. The house would be clean. She’d be waiting for him, and not out with the girls, or having to work late.
They were simple people, him and his wife. They didn’t believe any of that crap about tailpipe emissions, climate change, virus spreading, none of that. He’d even stood behind his truck with the engine running once, “See! I’m fine!” Who cared if the sky was black in Los Angeles. He hadn’t caused that. Just like he hadn’t breathed some invisible virus all over everyone he ever came in contact with, and caused them to die.
“I should’ve known they’d fire my ass. Because. I don’t believe the crap they tell me to believe.”
The phone stared at me. My muscles ached from not reaching for it. It was right there. Looking at me. All I had to do was reach over and- NO! She made it abundantly clear where we stood. After dating for six years, she called it off. Said she didn’t think I’d ever mature. Whatever that means. I reached for my drink instead, gulping it in one swift motion.
I missed her. She was the apple to my peanut butter. The yin to my yang. The Bonnie to my Clyde. The harmony to my melody. Before I realized what was happening the phone rang in my ear. I didn’t even remember picking it up, let alone dialing her number. What would I say? Maybe she wouldn’t answer.
“Hello?” Oh God. She answered.
The sun came through the window, waking me up. What did I do? Maybe I hadn’t really called her after all. I looked at my phone through squinched eyes.
Oh no. We talked for over ten minutes.
What did I say to her? Maybe it wasn’t that bad. Maybe I didn’t make a fool of myself. Maybe she said she’d take me back. Maybe . . .
Outgoing calls showed I called her 34 times before she picked up.
I should’ve known not to call her. She should’ve known not to pick up.
I should’ve known by the silence that something had gone horribly wrong.
“Kids! Hey kids! You’d better not be getting into my stuff! You know not to touch Dad’s gear, right? Right?!”
I groaned as I got up and made my way to the stairs. “Kids!”
I saw the flicker of candlelight as I made my way downstairs and, oh damn. No way to escape the smell of preserved Eye of Newt. They’d better have opened the cheap stuff. At $150/ounce, the other stuff was for special occasions, that’s for sure.
Before rounding the corner, I closed my eyes and took a breath.
I knew they’d get into the spell supplies one of these days. When they were little, the icky bottles and gross smells kept them away, but they’ve been getting curious. I should have increased the protection spells, but work, and the pandemic, and…
Stepping into the candlelight, I tried to moderate my voice. “Alex. Brittany. I know we’ve talked…”
They weren’t there.
The pentagram was there, drawn perfectly.
The candles were placed at exactly the right spots.
The cauldron was filled to the proper level and was simmering – not boiling.
But no kids.
“They’re Christmas shopping.”
My familiar landed on my shoulder, shaking his tail. “Shopping. What do you get for the warlock who has the power to create anything?”
“But where? No, they couldn’t have. Did they?”
I sighed, then smiled, looking at the perfect pentagram. “They’re pretty good, aren’t they?”
“What are the backpacks for?” Jillian eyed her girlfriend suspiciously.
Jacqueline dropped the pair of hiking frame backpacks with an ominous thud near the front door. She planted her hands on her hips with a smirk that warmed Jillian’s heart and sent a chill up her spine at the same time.
“You promised to go into the mountains with me this weekend.”
“Yeah,” Jillian grimaced at the imposing hiking gear. “I said okay to a picnic.”
“At Crystal Lake.”
Jillian frowned. She and Jacqui met their freshman year and had been dating since they were sophomores. Now Jacqui was close to her business BS with an eye on a master’s and Jillian would probably be able to swing a BA of some sort.
They liked playing mind games with one another. Good-natured, of course, with aftercare to taste. Jillian was missing something this time.
“It’s a full day hike into Crystal Lake. Unless you want to take one of the longer loop trails.”
Jillian slouched into their couch and let her head hit the back with a groan.
“I should’ve known!”
“Don’t worry,” Jacqui laughed lifting one of the packs with two fingers before quickly switching to a full fist. “Your bag isn’t that heavy.”
“You’re lucky I love you,” Jillian glared.
“I know!” Jacqui laughed again, setting the backpack down. “Come on, let’s get you dressed!”
“I will make you pay for this.”
Jillian shuffled over with her best sour face, which Jacqui kissed away.
249 PRUDENT words
I should’ve known, there would be heartache. I loved him with all heart and yet I knew I had to leave. I had to protect him and my unborn child.
Grandma always warned me not to fall in love that it could only lead to disaster but I hadn’t listened. I was pregnant, a blood test at the doctor’s had confirmed it. I had six months to say goodbye; but that was almost six months ago and time was running out. My own father and my grandfather had died the day of their daughter’s birth. This was Derek’s daughter that he now knew was coming; how could Derek escape the curse that had befallen all the men, which the Barellan women loved? Love them and leave them that should have been our rule; but it wasn’t, the curse made us fall hard love hard and weep hard in the end. I didn’t even know if leaving would save him but I had to try. Waiting until he went to work I snuck my two packed bags from the closet.
I went to go out as the front door opened and Derek stood there.
“I know about the curse, Brandlin. The curse started because one of your ancestors broke one of my family patriarch’s heart; but because you fell in love with me and we are having a child the curse is broken.”
Derek took me his arms and we tenderly made love, happy to be together, a family, forevermore
Sighing, I fix the rubber band straps behind my head, squeezing the nose piece so my glasses don’t fog up. Flipping the exhaust fan on overhead, I put a washable pad onto my mop. Then it’s into the bucket of bleach water, in hopes the mold covering my bathroom walls and ceiling will disappear. I hate bleach, it stinks, but I should’ve known my other cleaning stuff wasn’t cutting it.
“You’re finally getting to work, huh?”
I turn to see Dad standing in the doorway to my bathroom, his jeans scuffed with dirt, his socks as white as ever, sweat beading along his cap on his forehead. Mom lets him wear work boots in the house, but I don’t. It’s hard enough keeping my floors clean with two cats…I don’t need farm dirt yet!
The mop dunks back into the water and I wring it out by pressing it against the tub.
“Yes. This sucks, you know.”
“Well, if you weren’t such a hippie about your cleaning stuff, we might not be having to do this.”
“Well, my hippie ways mean I don’t have to clean with toxic shit.”
The mop gets an aggressive thrust against the ceiling and dirty water drips down into the shower. We’ve had this argument before and neither of us comes out the winner.
“Whatever. Your mother has cleaned—”
“I know. You helping or not?”
“Let me know when it’s done.”
Dad walks off and I sigh. At least it’s a small bathroom.
Inspiration is hard to come by. No, that’s not true – inspiration is easy – it’s overcoming inertia to act on the inspiration and actually accomplish something. I’d been sketching the same stretch of landscape for days now – playing with style and color and execution.
Each version, each vision, inspired the next – what if I added color? What if I made the clouds drops instead of swirls or if the swirls were spirals. What if I made the view from a window? What if the view was just stained glass in the window?
The inspiration was outpacing the artwork until it all spiraled out of control and I was left with piles of half-finished sketches, while I had ideas for what I wanted to try next. Who knew you could paint the same scene so many different ways?
I went from nothing to a swirl of paintings laid out in front of me— surrounding me until my studio became the landscape I was drawing – with mounds of paper and canvases stretched out before me, and my world a spiral of inspiration.
I should’ve known better than to draw Starry Night.
189 words – not including title
“I should’ve known.”
The voice startled me more than the words. But as I froze, fearing the face I would find attached to that voice, I knew there was no escape.
I turned, and there she was—scrutinizing me. My twin. Estranged for ten years. Oh, we’d grown up together and everything. We’d done the whole twin thing. And then my twin stole my identity.
In our twenties, she had run with the wrong crowd, and I suppose it was inevitable that she would capitalize on the fact that she shares the same face as someone else. Someone with an excellent credit score. Someone without a police record. A police filing cabinet was more like it.
On our thirtieth birthday, my bank called and asked if I had purchased seventeen flatscreen TVs in Buffalo. No, but I would spend the next seventeen months calling the credit bureaus, canceling life insurance policies, and trying to recoup the thousands she had managed to siphon from my accounts.
But that was then. Now, we were ten years older, and though I like to think I’ve changed and grown since that day when she destroyed my life, it was hard not to feel my heart clench with fear again when hearing her voice. Hearing those words. Knowing why she was here.
Now studying me as if half impressed, she spoke again.
“Very funny. How’d you lock me out of all my accounts? And why is my bank saying I bought thirty-five flatscreens from Albuquerque?”
“Eleanora!” Nolan calls my name as the first intruder slumps beneath me. I look up in time to heed his warning, summon a blade with a swing of my arm, and parry the oncoming blow. A jolt shoots through me at the screech of metal on metal. With a muttered spell, I set my blade aflame. The sudden flash gives me the upper hand, and the man stumbles back. Two steps, and I run him through with my sword.
Two down, one to go.
Nolan’s opponent notices my victory first, eyes wide at the sight of his companions’ bodies lifeless on the floor. The shock is all Nolan needs, and in another second, the last intruder is against the wall, pinned to it by Nolan’s will alone. He struggles against the invisible bindings, but it’s no use.
Holding my blade to the man’s neck, I spit the question, “Who sent you?”
Though he’s outmatched and only alive because we want him to be, defiance lights his eyes. I should’ve known it wouldn’t be this easy.
Before I can attempt to persuade him, though, footsteps come down the hall.
“Took you long enough.” I narrow my eyes at the king’s guard.
“We’ll take it from here.” The lead guard walks toward the intruder, but Nolan continues to hold him, looking to me for permission.
“If it’s all the same to you, we’ll escort him to the dungeon ourselves.”
The guard looks like he’ll argue, but then nods, letting us lead.
249 WIP words
Oh, I have to say I really like it that Nolan looked to her to make the decision. Lovely, Katheryn. 🙂
#ThursThreads Week 495 is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope to catch you next week.