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 496 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 496:
Book enthusiast, lover of coffee, and Fantasy and Suspense author, Tina Glasneck.
Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads |
And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
“They’re pretty good, aren’t they?”
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!
12 Replies to “#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 496”
Frank, The Foundling
I plopped Frank down in a chair. He continued huffing and puffing but his motor was missing a beat and I could tell he was the most tired man I had seen in quite a while.
Pepper, his anxious daughter, hovered in the doorway that separated the business end of the Kane’s Kandy Shoppe and the kitchen. I needed Frank to relax but Pepper was agitating the situation.
Just then, the storefront doorbell jingled. Someone entered.
“Pepper,” I said, “deal with the customer. “Your old man will be fine . He and I need to talk.”
She was still frozen, trapped between two realities. Business and her ridiculous father.
“PEPPER,” I yelled, “The customer.”
She jumped into customer service mode , shut the kitchen door, and started to deal with the shopper.
I checked on Frank. “You okay?”
He looked up, sweaty, Christmas ribbon pink, and nodded.
“Good. Down to brass tacks, Frankie. You got a nice family. For some reason they love you.”
“They’re pretty good, aren’t they? Better than I deserve.”
“No argument from me, Frank. You know Terry, your ex, has gone to see Solly?”
He nodded that he did.
“So, you know that he’s a dangerous man?”
He nodded again.
“So, Frankie, why the hell didn’t you stop her?”
He shook his head, said “Tried to. She’s her own woman. Cocksure about everything.”
“Right,” I said.
Frank didn’t have the jam to save his own shabby self, let alone influence his independent ex.
Laela rolled over on the cold ground and woke to an impending storm. Lightening flashed from purple clouds and a steady rain wet her blanket.
“Oww … What?” She sat up and glared at Gerrin. The old mage had poked her with his wand before shoving it back into his cloak.
“Time to go.”
“But I was having this delicious dream…” She blushed and stopped talking.
The mage snorted and finished loading the wagon. “We must reach the capital by sunset. Before Troyen carries out her plan.”
Laela loaded her things onto the wagon. “It was you who said we must keep my existence a secret. If Troyen learns that I’m alive ….” She didn’t need to finish.
The old mage climbed onto the wagon. “Yes. Yes, I know. Come, we must go.”
As Gerrin drove the wagon, Laela sat beside him and pulled several weapons from a satchel. The mage raised an eyebrow. “I forged these myself. They’re pretty good, aren’t they?” she said.
“You’ll need more than those to defeat the Marissi. You’ll need to use magic.”
“If I had any magic,” Laela said. Gerrin didn’t answer her and his expression was unreadable.
Her elder sister, Troyen, was in the inner circle of dark mages known as Marissi, dedicated to transforming their society to their will. Troyen was their most powerful mage.
“What aren’t you telling me, Mage?”
“You will know at the right time,” Gerrin said. He suddenly veered off the road and brought the wagon to a halt.
“What is it, Gerrin?”
Kathleen had no clue why her so-called friends dragged her to this fiasco. Even Mary Pat, whom she’d known since first grade at St. Vincent’s Catholic School and whom she considered her very best friend, insisted. One year ago, they’d put Tommy in the ground, closed casket. The looks of pity from everyone, including Mary Pat, hadn’t gone unnoticed. She’d also recognized the arch looks of superiority from the others. They all thought she hadn’t known that Tommy was screwing around on her.
From her seat in the corner, she watched Nora and Rosie play their games. She wondered if they knew Tommy had been bumping uglies with both of them. Oh, they’d looked all pious and concerned at the bastard’s wake, but she’d heard them gloating to others.
Mary Pat leaned over and all but shouted in her ear. “They’re pretty good, aren’t they?”
Resisting the urge to rub her ear, Kathleen shrugged the shoulder closest to her friend. Luckily, Mary Pat took the hint and sat back. The grinding bass beat was a perfect counterpoint to the gyrating male bodies on the stage but the volume triggered a headache. The smug looks from Nora and Rosie didn’t help. She was so done with all this. Once upon a time, she’d believed in that whole musketeer thing. All for one and one for all. She’d been one alone too long. She didn’t need friends like these.
“I’m done.” She stood, froze. It was him. The man who haunted her dreams.
250 Boston Wolves WIP words
Ambrose stiffened. Why was Roxanne telling him to stop?
He shifted enough to look over his shoulder and found Roxanne standing near the fireplace beside a rustic table set with foods of various kinds—cut meats and cheese, vegetables and fruit, even two different kinds of bread—and a steaming pot of tea. The teapot and matching mugs had elegant iris flowers painted on their sides.
“Where did that come from?” He turned around and approached the table slowly.
“I dunno. I didn’t see it when we came in.” She shook her head. “But it’s exactly what you said you wished for. Do you think it’s safe?”
Ambrose frowned and shot a look around. “I don’t know. We don’t know this place or if there’s magic here – magic that could bind us to this place in ways we don’t understand.”
“Yeah, but if it’s like an Airbnb, it’s a place to stay before we head back to your herd.” She reached out and picked up an apple from the table. “Here. Try it. What’s the best that can happen?”
He snorted but took the apple and sniffed it. It smelled like any other apple, so he took a bite.
Flavor burst over his tongue as he bit into the crisp flesh and he moaned in surprised delight.
“They’re pretty good, aren’t they?” Roxanne nodded as she chewed on her own fruit. “I think this is the best apple I’ve ever eaten. And I’m not really an apple fan.”
249 ineligible #Sirens words
Tumblers, flipped men and women through the air a band of colorful characters roaming the streets, striding on stilts, juggling, dancing, breathing fire, and playing music, while some drove wagons behind them enthralling all who watched.
“They’re pretty good, aren’t they?” a voice said at my elbow.
“Watch as they distract and the smaller ones slip themselves into pockets and purses.”
“Wow, I’d never have guessed. You are so cynical, Rosalinda.”
“I am the ruler of our kingdom and I must protect all. Summon the guards.”
The guards came and all complained when I told them that there was an extra duty tonight and that they would miss the show. Stopping the coup before it began.
Were my people happy? No, they were glad the plot was stopped; but they’d looked forward to the entertainment; so, there was much grumbling and talk behind my back. I decide to throw a street party, wine, drink and merriment. I imbibed and talked to a number of my subjects. I awoke the next morning to cheers and a long live the King and Queen.
What Queen? What King? I thought as I pulled the pillow from over my eyes and reached over and touched a head.
“You haven’t forgotten our wedding that you gave our people have you, my queen?” asked Kieran
I lied and nodded. I had given the people what they wanted all my life; but this was something I had always wanted. For once it was good to be Queen.
The exquisite gardens were beautifully presented and cared for. The empty house was strangely cozy and mostly tidy too despite the slight disrepair on the window shutters. The photographer had walked about all over the grounds in amazed wonder. He placed his instant prints in an envelope with a note and placed them in his bag to either be sent or shared when he arrived home.
His happy photographer’s eye had truly been awakened and he grabbed a light jacket and headed back to see the rosebushes again.
A few weeks later a messed up bag was handed to the photographer’s partner with an apology. They looked through it sadly. They were just about to toss the whole bag away when they spotted the note folded into the photos. The note simply said:
“They’re pretty good, aren’t they?”
With a choked sob the partner nodded a sad smile. The last photo however they dropped in shock for the photographer was standing by a rosebush frozen in horror.
She had wondered what else the mage had waiting. She’d known about the zombie hounds and the gorgon behind the mirror. But she’d been caught unawares by the pressure-sensitive floor, the lance that’d shot out pinning her hand to the wall.
The loss of a finger would interfere with her spell casting. She’d have to try to improvise, find a workaround or it would become a fatal handicap.
“You must be getting tired,” the voice said, a face appearing before her. “And the toxin on the blade will slow you down. Then you’ll begin to hallucinate in a few minutes and the loss of your sight will finish you.”
Feng shook her head. She had thought it had only been the glow-globes dimming. The numbing of her hand could be nothing more than trauma, the stump of her finger bleeding through her improvised dressing.
She said nothing. She knew the mage was trying to confuse her. If he could ignite the fear bubbling inside her, he could make her defeat herself.
The mage tried again. A steam-powered samurai materialised before her, a matched clanging of bronze to her rear announcing the arrival of its twin. They both began to advance, katanas scything into a blur, their eyes blazing blue through the gaps in their masks.
“They’re pretty good, aren’t they?” The mage’s head bobbed above her, tantalisingly out of reach. “They’re unstoppable too, or so I’m told. It’s the first time I’ve used them, so you’ll be my focus group.”
250 words – twothirdsrasta.blogspot.com
“What do you think?”
Jacqueline smiled at her exhausted girlfriend while spreading more roasted red pepper tapenade on baguette slices. Jillian’s groan at her aching feet became an appreciative moan for the savory spread. She tried to downplay the reaction.
“They’re pretty good.”
“Aren’t they? Even better by a beautiful lake we spent all day hiking to.”
Jillian accepted another slice with a sour face.
“I was deducting points for the hike! They would’ve been great in the park.”
Jacqui sipped from their wine bladder before passing it to Jillian with a laugh.
“Thank you, for coming here with me.”
A frigid wind interrupted Jillian. Lightning flashed over the ridge across Crystal Lake with thunder close enough to feel.
“Non!” Jacqui’s shoulders slumped in defeat. “This wasn’t in the forecast!”
Jillian watched black clouds blanket the sky like someone had flipped a switch. If she kept laying there, would things switch back to clear? Jacqui, in contrast, shook off her shock and began cramming their picnic back into their packs.
“Hurry! We need to move!”
Jacqui had one frame backpack over each shoulder by the time Jillian was on her feet.
“I can take mine—”
“Just move! And protect your head!”
Jillian could barely coerce her leaden legs to keep up with Jacqui bearing both backpacks. The first missile of hail shattered on a nearby rock as Jillian curled one arm over her head. Her other arm cradled their wine bladder to her core.
It felt important.
250 PRUDENT words
“They’re pretty good, aren’t they?”
The drawings looked like cat puke, but even I wasn’t a big enough asshole to tell the mother of a four year old that, especially not in the waiting room outside her pediatric ICU.
“Mellie has a real passion for creating things, you know. When I found where she had scribbled with markers inside her closet, she was so excited that I got to see her ‘Museum.’ I hugged her and told her that she could never do that again.” Her voice broke.
“And now she never will.”
“You don’t know that, Katya. The doctors here are exceptional.”
“I don’t give a fuck how exceptional a doctor is, John! You saw what she is now – the goddamned bastard cut off her hands and..” We got stares from the others in the waiting room – sitting a socially appropriate distance away, of course – but I didn’t care. There are some times that a parent just needs to howl.
I put my hand on Katya’s while she wept and tried to find words. I didn’t dare hug her – not now, probably not ever again. But I could do this. I could be here, I could offer just that amount of touch.
I knew who the goddamned bastard was, of course. I knew he was after me, and what I could do. I knew that he hoped I’d have to give in now, now that he’d shown me how far he’d go.
And I knew he was right.
“They’re pretty good, aren’t they?”
Jax didn’t say anything as he picked up one of the pistols, inspecting it in detail. Serial numbers filed off, otherwise pristine condition. He motioned to his second hand, who passed over enough bullets to fill the barrel. There was no sound other than that annoying water drip and the tinkling of steel while he loaded the gun. He cocked the hammer back and pointed it…
“Hey! Whoa…man. There’s no need to be pointing the merchandise at the seller, know what I’m sayin’.”
Jax lowered the gun, giving him a blank stare. “Cue, is it?”
“Yeah, Cue’s my name.”
“Why do they call you that?”
“Well…” Confusion crossed his squirrely face. “You know, people come asking for the goods and that’s my cue to make good on the merchandise requested. Cue always comes through.” He squared his shoulders up, head held high proudly.
“I see.” The flatness to his tone said he really didn’t give two shits about the nickname. “Then, Cue, you understand that no sane buyer wouldn’t first test out the merchandise, right?”
“’Course, yeah, but I got a rep you see-“
“Reputation only goes so far.” Jax raised the gun again.
“Wait wait wait! We can-“ Cue’s ears rung as the gun went off, grazing past his head and finding its intended target. The thud of dead weight was audible above the ringing in his head.
“We’ll be in touch again.” Then Jax was on his way, merchandise in hand.
248 totally random, rusty words. It has been a really long time since I joined. Feels good to jump back in.
#ThursThreads Week 496 is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope to catch you next week.