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 497 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 497:
Writer, adventurer, and perennial student of life, Teresa Eccles.
And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
“She said nothing.”
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 497”
When my surroundings come back into focus, I’m on my knees in a heap of skirts. The hallway tilts and someone catches me, keeping me from falling the rest of the way. Cold stone against my palms shocks my senses.
“Nora? What did you see?” He cups my face, scanning it for any hint of the vision.
“So much fire.” I meet Nolan’s eyes. “They’re in danger.” The sight of charred bodies turns my stomach, but it’s burned into my eyes now. How long before I can forget it? “Celeste, Kieran.” I whisper their names, as if that would make it any less horrifying.
Footsteps hurry toward us, and Nolan glances over my head, “Your father’s guard. Should we tell them?”
“No.” My answer is immediate. “Can’t trust them.”
Nolan frowns, but I know I can trust him to help. My father’s men are a whole other story.
“Miss, is everything alright?” One of the knight stands behind me as Nolan helps me stand. “What’s wrong?”
“I’m fine.” But my voice is weak. I clear my throat. “Nothing’s wrong.”
“She said nothing.” Nolan’s voice is stern, eyes glaring at the knights. He takes my arm, gently tucking it into his. “Just the heat, yes?”
Offering the other mage a smile, I nod. “Just need some rest. This dress is killing me.”
It’s not a total lie, and enough to make the knights leave. I tug on Nolan’s arm, determined to find somewhere private to recount what I saw.
250 untitled fantasy WIP words
250 words (per Pages on my Mac) that go with absolutely nothing. (Great prompt!)
– – –
“…has always come first,” the note read. “I can’t tell you this to your face, Chelsea. I’m just going.”
His research was consuming. She had been proud of him, once.
“C-sea…” The nickname seemed to mock her. “I’ve got to figure this out. A variant was delivered yesterday. We can kick this thing. But not here. I’m torn, but…the science has always come first.”
I should be crying, she thought. I should be…
…Doing those things she’d done for years, after waking up to notes that said he had an idea. He’d forget about the rest of the world for days or weeks and come home in need of a shower. Sometimes, he’d have champagne.
– – –
It took months. Weekender over her shoulder, Chelsea was locking the front door behind her when she heard him.
Disbelief chilled her as she turned to see him bounding up the walk, carrying a duffle and a bottle of champagne.
Chelsea opened her mouth. Closed it. You’re done, she reminded herself. He’d abandoned her; it was clear in his own words. She’d put everything in storage, paid for it for one year. She was done.
“Chelsea?” His buoyant smile faded. “Going somewhere?”
Her tongue wouldn’t work, so she rummaged for the key to the unit and pulled it out.
Dropping his bag, he took the key. “I know I—“
Lowering her head, Chelsea blew past him.
She said nothing but tossed her bag into the car and drove away.
“Yeah, I’m good. I just need some water, then I’ll get started on the KP.” Although Roxanne might have to drink the entire contents of her bottle and his water skin to drown out the weird thoughts.
“Kitchen Patrol – kitchen clean-up.” She set the bottle aside and headed for the water pump.
But Ambrose shook his head. “Don’t worry about it. I’ll take care of that while you go deposit our offering to the Goddess.”
“Our offering.” He slid three cakes onto a stone plate. “This is a temple to the Goddess and even if no one else is here, She is, and it’s good manners to bring Her an offering in gratitude for the food and shelter.”
Roxanne had never been very religious or spiritual. She believed in Murphy of Murphy’s Law, and she definitely didn’t walk under ladders because that was common sense. But a Goddess with real-world power?
“Yes, seriously. How can you doubt the magic of the Goddess when you’re here, in my world, where humans are a myth?”
Well, when he puts it like that…
“Yeah, okay, good point. What do I have to do?” She collected the plate and waited at the entrance to the kitchen.
“Nothing beyond picking one of the effigies that appeals to you and offering the cakes at its feet. You’re welcome to say a prayer, but definitely convey our thanks and gratitude.” He waved her out.
She said nothing to that, wondering which statue to choose.
250 ineligible #Sirens words
Jennifer Drysdale was just starting her shift on the day she decided to quit. She pulled into the parking space and got out of her car. Waiting for her outside, Arthur Ruckford flicked the butt of a cigarette into the gravel at his feet, and crushed it beneath his boot.
“She’s been assaulted by persons unknown.” His voice was hushed, like he was imparting secrets. “More than one. Beat up pretty bad but she’s conscious.”
“You haven’t found the perpetrators?”
“Negative.” He paused at the door. She glanced at him as he went on: “She won’t talk to me. Maybe a woman’s ear would be better.”
“She said nothing? Nothing at all?”
He shook his head.
She went through the lobby to the interrogation room, where she assumed the victim was waiting.
A dozen cops gathered around the long conference table in the room. Jerry Carson turned to face Jennifer as she entered, his vast beer gut spilling over his belt and pants.
She looked him up and down, and then stared into the faces of the other officers.
“Where’s the victim?” she asked.
“Happy birthday, Jenny!” Carson roared, moving back from the table to reveal the icing-covered cake as a centerpiece, with dozens of candles planted atop the confection.
Jennifer raised her eyebrows.
“You sons of bitches.” She shook her head and spoke calmly. “You insensitive bunch of morons.”
233 words @ragtaggiggagon
She said nothing, hoarding her regrets as if they were a dragon’s treasure. No, she thought. Not treasure, chains. Kathleen almost smiled. Her and Marley’s Ghost, weighed down by the heavy chains of shoulda, coulda, woulda.
“Hindsight is a bitch,” she finally said. “With twenty-twenty vision.”
Devlin ducked his chin and dug the toe of one work boot in the dirt. “You’re free now.”
He spoke the truth. She was. Tommy was long gone and buried. The police, the reporters, people on the street—they were all fading memories. She was no longer hounded, no longer on the receiving end of speculative looks.
“Why?” she asked.
He reached over and brushed her cheek with the tenderest of touches. “Because.”
“And you did something.”
Unable to meet her eyes, he kept his gaze on the ground. He said nothing yet his silence spoke volumes.
A muscle twitched at the corner of his mouth. Was he fighting a smile? She hid her own grin as he answered, “Because.”
He shook his head. “No, luv. You.”
“You know what I am.”
“I do.” And she did. He was a member of Boru’s Wolves. He was Ronan O’Connor’s attack dog. He was kind and honorable and believed in duty no matter what it cost him personally. And he was so much more. He was magic. Truly. Because any man who could shift into a wolf had to be. She took his hand. “Mine.”
“Yours,” he agreed. “And mine.”
250 Boston Wolves WIP words
“The ward will protect you,” Gerrin said. “If Troyen sees you at the ball tonight, she will have no idea who you really are.”
Laela prayed that he was right. If her elder sister sees through the ward, she would almost certainly kill her.
“I might feel more confident if it were a costume ball.”
The old mage put his hand on her shoulder. “My magic is stronger than Troyen’s. Now off with you.”
Troyen entered the ballroom dressed in an off the shoulder black gown. She was stunning. Everybody stopped dancing and applauded. Laela couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride, but it quickly dissipated, replaced by the knowledge of what her elder sister had become.
Later that evening, Laela led four apprentice mages through the courtyard, but froze at the sound of soldiers. She ushered the mages into an empty room and shut the door.
“Going somewhere, Lady?” Troyen said.
Laela prayed to all the saints that Gerrin’s ward would hold. She stood between Troyen and the mages. “Let us leave.”
“Or what will you do?” Troyen lifted her hand sending a magical burst to the heart of one of the mages, killing him instantly.
Laela’s face paled. He was just a boy. She said nothing, but took a step toward her sister.
“Will you use magic against me?” Troyen smirked. “If you had any magic.”
For the briefest moment, Troyen’s eyes locked on hers and Laela’s faith in the ward designed to hide her identity, faded.
I gave Frank Luxton a shake. He was zombie calm, a ridiculous robot of a man who seemed to have no interest in protecting his family.
“Look,” I said, getting into his pasty face, “Solly Vapors paid me to find you. I got no problem turning you over to him. I’d love to do that BUT I know Solly, and he hasn’t any boundaries. He’ll take your ex in trade. Even Stephen. Chew her up! And then he’ll come for your daughter, that kid at the counter. He doesn’t care. Scammers like you, you’re all grist for his mulching mill. So, let’s be clear, there’s no way out of it for you. However, your family, you’re gonna have to fight to save them. I don’t even know if I want to help you do that. We’ll need more than me. You, I’m not sure how useful you are. Do you have any friends who might be willing to go up against Solly? You’re ex-military. You must know someone?”
I hadn’t had the need to string this number of words together in months.
Luxton looked beaten.
Then he said, “She said nothing.”
“Who?” I asked. “Terry? Your ex?”
“Yeah. I thought she was just going on a special delivery. That’s what she does.”
“It was special. Straight into Solly’s lair. So, you have anyone who could help?”
There it was. Old dilemmas meet new challenges.
I’d finally lay eyes on elusive Henry Samuels.
The one with the monocle is back, pushing his eye up against the window. I thought I’d finished him off three days ago – it doesn’t seem right that he’s still alive.
Of course, my calling him alive is being generous. It’s hard to tell with his type. The definitions are all blurring these days. Your usual man doesn’t get up after a blow like the one I gave him, his head stoved in by a spade.
But he’s a persistent POS like they all are. They always seem to survive, whatever you do.
The first time I saw this one, I christened him Monty. He had the monocle even then, his other eye a vivid blue like all the Kin’s are. He had a bit of a limp, nursing an injury, one of his calf muscles torn from being in a fight. He was sitting inside a hedge, trying to hide, shuffling his feet, moaning like they do all the time. The element of surprise isn’t one of the tools in their arsenal. But when you’re virtually invincible, you can get by.
So, I pointed him out, Julia drawing a bead on him and releasing a shot. She had a double-barrelled Mossberg, the twelve-gauge heavy enough to stop most things at that range. “That’ll discourage him for a while,” she said, nothing in her voice revealing how she felt. “He’ll be out of action for days, longer if his pals get a scent of him while he’s bleeding.”
249 words – twothirdsrasta.blogspot.com
My head held high I walked past a gauntlet of people who stared daggers at me.
“She’s alive you know she said nothing,” I heard one person say.
“She did nothing,” I heard another say.
I grew alarmed but the letter I carried explained everything, how I had hidden in plain sight, speaking loudly, secretly and had been instrumental in the peace that we now had with our neighbours. Someone planted whispers about me; someone wanted me dead. I had to reach the King.
I picked up my pace. People began to pull on my robes and impede me. I reached the castle gates and let down my guard that’s when the knife plunged in my side. When I looked the assassin had disappeared. I begged the guards to open the gates but they refused. I told them the King had summoned me and they sent someone to find him but didn’t open the gate. I felt the second knife plunge into me and the blood drip down my left arm and knew that I wasn’t going to make it.
The King bid them to open the gates and I handed him the letter in my robes now tainted with blood. I felt my life drain from me the last thing I heard before seeking the light was the King addressing the crowd.
“You have gossiped and judge without proof, acted without conscience and now you have killed the hero of our country. May God forgive you, for I won’t.”
Jillian wasn’t big on camping out at the best of times. Being driven into a cave by a freak alpine thunderstorm wasn’t the best of times. She’d managed to get to sleep but was now awake again, heart racing in the cavernous silence after the storm.
The two-person tent she shared with her girlfriend felt more claustrophobic than usual. Even the sleeping bag was tight and dripping water echoed through the cave. Dripping…
Jillian growled in her nose before unzipping her side of the sleeping bag without disturbing Jacqui. She had more trouble with the tent zipper on her side in the dark. It felt like she barely fit through. Eventually, she was out and on her way to find somewhere to take care of business.
She caught herself without smacking her chin on a rock but the crack of her palms against the cave floor was thunderous! A split spread from where Jillian’s hands impacted to the rock she had kept her face from, revealing an intense blue glow from within the stone. The cacophony of falling rock shattered the stillness of the night.
“Jill! Are you okay?” Jacqui called from the tent.
Jillian looked up in terror to see the cave ceiling rushing at her! In her panic, she said nothing; her only thought was of protecting Jacqui. Jillian threw herself over their tent and curled protectively around it as the cave impacted her on all sides.
Curled around the tent? That couldn’t be right.
249 PRUDENT words
It’s been one week since the word cancer entered our lives. Four weeks of treatment in the hospital, the doctor said, then home for maintenance. It was caught earlier than most, which is good. But that doesn’t change all the things that can go wrong during cancer treatment.
Dad called the other night and said Mom went unresponsive. But she rebounded, even though they couldn’t figure out what went wrong. Sioux Falls is the best hospital for leukemia, they said.
Her immune system was destroyed, because chemo does that. She caught RSV, a harmless virus in most adults. She had to be transferred to a bigger hospital for treatment and the chemo stopped.
Watching TV with her, it’s hard to believe she’s sick. She’s asking me what they’re making on the cooking show.
I work for Death. I know the signs. But I didn’t want to see it with Mom. Horace let me live in blissful ignorance. Then the day came. The doctors had put her on a ventilator. We had to decide: keep trying or let her go.
Her fight lasted two weeks. Two fucking weeks thanks to some stupid cold. My brothers and Dad and I sat held her hand, talked to her. Then she looked at me. I stood up, took her hand. My purple, sparkly robes draped me, scythe in hand.
“I love you,” I said, hugging her.
She said nothing, as we walked through the door, and delivered her into the arms of her parents.
250 words (I wish I could’ve walked Mom across on that day…)
Tami fought back tears with a sniffle. It’s hard being brave when you’re five. It’s even harder when you’re alone.
“But Mommy.” Tami paused, swallowing hard. “Mommy…she said nothing would prevent her from coming home to me. She promised!”
Now the tears came, hot and fierce, her body unable to contain its grief.
I didn’t move, or reach out a hand, or try to comfort her. As much as that would feel good right now – to both of us – Tami needed to know she could get through the pain on her own. So I waited, perched on one knee, until the storm passed and she looked back at me.
“What do I do now?”
“You run. You leave this place now and you run, as fast and as far as you can go. Then you hide – and I mean really hide, not just sit behind a tree or behind a big rock. You’re small. The world is full of places you can put yourself where no one will see you. And when you can go again, you run.”
“How…how will I eat? Who will take care of me? How long do I need to run?”
I took the last question first. “Forever, or as near to forever as you can think of. Find help where you can, but don’t expect anyone to take care of you. That part of your life is over.”
I couldn’t give her hope. That would get her killed out there.
Hope was mine to find.
#ThursThreads is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope to catch you next week.