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 498 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 498:
Fantasy Author, and Holder of Several Stories, David Ludwig.
And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
“He spoke the truth.”
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!
22 Replies to “#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 498”
Fiona watched Bowie’s retreating back. She felt like that Internet meme—the exploding head one. The door closed, separating her from the man she’d wanted to hold her heart. But now? How could she? Bowie was obviously insane. She faced Shannon. “A wolf? The man’s daft. He thinks he can change into a big furry wolf with teeth and claws and fur.” The laugh that escaped next was edged with hysteria.
“He’s not daft,” Shannon said.
“Well of course you’d be sayin’ that. He’s your brother.”
“He spoke the truth.”
Fiona studied the other woman’s face. She’d held hopes that she and Bowie’s sisters were becoming friends…almost sisters. But now?
Shannon moved to the door and opened it. Fee blinked. And then she couldn’t breathe.
The big furry wolf with teeth and claws padded into the room. His brindle coat looked thick and soft and Fee wanted to bury her hands and face in it. No! Nononono. NO! This was wrong. So very wrong. But her wild Irish heart leapt at the very idea of his existence. The wolf stopped several feet away. She looked into his eyes. Into Bowie’s eyes. She saw the hurt. Saw the fear. And saw the hope. She dropped to her knees, remembering something her granda once told her. Fear not the wolf, cailín, for his heart twill be true. And in that memory, she found her truth. Her reason for being. It was to love this man.
She opened her arms. “Mine.”
249 Boston Mafia Wolves WIP words
I love the strength of your characters and their voices.
The scale shimmered in my hand, and I listened as the current carried the vibration of the human’s heartbeat to me. Each thud danced on my skin like a fish tail’s caress before it was carried past. His heart stayed steady as he spun his tale, breath fogging the glass vessel around his head and shoulders. His was a tale that involved the accidental destruction of the reef hiding my family’s home and breaking our brother’s arm.
“He spoke the truth, sister. The witch’s scale has not ceased to glow, and his heart beats true. It was an accident.” Octo losing his arm for a few weeks was going to be difficult, especially with needing to rebuild our home, but it was better than losing his tail or worse. A merfolk without their tail was as good as shark bait.
Mari shook her head, sending ripples out from the shells woven into her hair. “I am the Gyres, the speaker for our family. You are merely the listener, Mera. Accident or not, he has put many of our people at risk. He must pay the price.”
Sam didn’t know our language; it was too hard for humans to learn without modifications, ones I hadn’t wanted for him. He paled at her words regardless. What Mari was suggesting… As much as I loved him, turning him was not what I wanted. Twilight in his arms on the beach was enough for me. We would be no closer as princess and servant.
An excitingly different take on merfolk and the intersection of different worlds/cultures is always fascinating.
Laela looked at the lifeless body of the young mage lying at her feet. She was shaking. Her elder sister, Troyen, had killed the boy with a mage sphere.
She prayed to the saints that the four other apprentice mages in her charge would do nothing to provoke Troyen, but one of the mages started to form a lethal sphere under his cloak. Laela silently cursed. She stepped forward hoping to distract her sister.
It was too late. Troyen hurled her own sphere as the young mage flung his toward her. The explosion filled the room with sparks, smoke and dust, covering Troyen’s escape.
“He didn’t have a chance, Gerrin,” Laela told the old mage through tears.
“Troyen was trained in dark magic by your father, and it was I who taught him to use his magic,” Gerrin said, regret forming in his eyes. “For this I take full responsibility.”
“You didn’t do this, Gerrin. You couldn’t know what he would become.”
“Your father confided in me years ago that he was captivated by the secrets of dark magic.” Gerrin looked into Laela’s eyes. “He spoke the truth and I refused to believe it.”
Laela reached out and touched the old mage’s cheek. “We must stop them.”
“Did Troyen know you? I warded you so heavily that she wouldn’t guess who you really are.”
Laela remembered the brief instant their eyes met in that room. Her faith in the ward had been shaken. “I don’t know, Gerrin. I don’t know.”
250 Words (from my YA Fantasy WIP)
I love the sympathy between Gerrin and Laela and the mirroring of their sense of responsibility.
Frank and Hank
I couldn’t believe the serendipity. It was barely two degrees of separation, two incredibly random degrees. It had been almost a year since I’d been hired by Henry Samuels kid to find her daddy. I’d circled around Samuels wonky world for a few months and ended up back where I began.
People had died. I’d been slammed into restraint, told to watch my p’s and q’s as well as the rest of the bloody alphabet by the Feds.
Now, I’d come full circle. Up to now, Samuels had remained a wisp, a ghost of a fellow, hidden away, daring me to find him. Suddenly, out of left field, Frank Luxton, petty thief, hot goods con artist, and sleazy unemployed Santa Claus had dropped his name into this new game, one refereed by Solly Vapors.
“Okay Frank, this buddy of your…”
“Yeah, Hank. You know how to reach him? We don’t have a lot of time. By now Solly has your ex-wife in his clutches. That’s worrying. Solly is more than a fence. He’s got a much darker side.”
“Hank knows Solly. And yeah, I know how to reach him. He stays in the shadows mostly. Told me so a month ago. He’s also got people after him.”
“He spoke the truth. I’m one of them. But if we are going to rescue Terry, he’ll need to come out into the light.”
“You’re after Hank?”
“Yeah. He’s like a thorn in my foot. It’s gotta come out.”
I love the detective being upfront with Frank about being after Hank too.
Someone would have to keep watch while the other slept. Ambrose resigned himself to staying awake longer as he searched the kitchen for the best place to bed down. The doorway was small enough to hold if they were attacked and it was warm near the hearth.
“I think we should rest in here tonight. I’ll take the first watch.” Roxanne paused beside the hearth. “I bet we could move some of these sacks and use them for pillows. What do you think?”
“I concur with the location and sacks, but I’ll take the first watch.” He ambled over to her side and helped move the canvas bags into a decent resting space.
“You did all the running. I’m tired but not exhausted. Get some rest. I’ll wake you in a few hours.” She gestured at the sacks. “Arrange them to support your back or torso however you like.”
“I’m the one who’s bigger and faster. I should take the first watch.” He spoke the truth, though the sacks looked so inviting in terms of his fatigue.
“Not in this environment. I fit better here. Just lay down and rest. You look like you’re ready to drop.” She waved at him to settle and set her hands on her hips when he resisted. “Don’t worry, I promise not to do anything weird while you sleep like paint your nails or braid your hair or kiss you goodnight. You’re safe. This isn’t a slumber party after all.”
246 ineligible #Sirens words
I always enjoy characters competing for who will carry a burden (like the first watch) and the slumber party references at the end particularly made the scene for me. What you do with characters and chemistry is a delight to read.
I could see Frank was disturbed. “You OK with everything?” It was polite to ask, but I knew he wasn’t OK.
Frank never looked up from where he was staring at the space between his feet, at the floor of the metro car. “No.”
“What’s up?” I tried to sound positive, something that’s not easy to do after you had to shoot someone in the back of the head while they were blindfolded, and on their knees. “You thinking about the job?”
He still didn’t look up. “He spoke the truth, you know.”
“Yeah, Frank. I know. So do the people who sent us to take care of him.” I patted him on the shoulder. “He spoke the truth, and that’s why they had to get rid of him.”
“It’s not right.”
“Frank. It’s a bit late to worry about right and wrong. It’s just a job. It’s what we do. We take orders, and we follow them. That’s all.” I had to sigh. I already knew Frank wasn’t going to be around long. A guilty conscience was a death sentence in our line of work.
“Let’s get you home, Frank. So you can have a stiff drink, and sleep it off.”
I’d do what I could to keep him in line, but sooner or later, he’d try to get out of the business. No one got out of the business. One in, it was for life.
“It’s just a job, Frank. That’s all. Just a job.”
I feel for Frank, as does our narrator who is clearly the more experienced in this melancholy hitman tale.
A host of fireflies shimmered over her head. The Fae were enjoying themselves. It wasn’t every day they got to preside over a coronation: they loved to show off.
“You don’t think it’s a little too much?” Marissa pouted in the mirror, delighted by the effect. Nathaniel and his people were magicians – even better really – the illusions they created seeding themselves into her bones and manifesting outward. She already felt twenty pounds lighter, her waist cinching in. She was going to need a whole new wardrobe tomorrow at this rate.
“You look exquisite,” Mordred said, spritzing her with another three pumps of the atomiser he carried. “You’re already positively regal, but I know we can do better. A shower of copper freckles, gossamer wings, a more severe aspect to your face. It’s simplicity itself – we can correct everything.”
Marissa shivered, and her shrug fell away, the muscular buds that had been developing on her back erupting into incendiary panes of jewelled glass. They unfurled with a snap and began to beat, lifting her from the ground. Mordred clapped his hands as she transformed, becoming more suitable for the role she’d soon assume.
“Oh my,” she said, seeing her reflection. “What my father said – he spoke the truth. I can never go back home again, can I? My family would never recognise me. I’m going to be lost to them forever.”
Minutes later, she was gone, a mote of light that blazed briefly then snuffed itself out.
250 words – twothirdsrasta.blogspot.com
Your sensory details are exquisite throughout and I particularly love the “incendiary panes of jewelled glass” wings.
Crystal Lake lay pure and tranquil as ever. Only the wilderness around it showed signs of last night’s devastation. Jacqueline adjusted a strap on her smaller pack of first aid and emergency supplies. She’d left most of their gear near the remains of their campsite. She had no idea how far her girlfriend, Jillian, could have gone and wanted to find her as soon as possible.
A man with long dark hair in a deerskin jacket watched the lake. While Jacqueline debated whether to ask him for help or slip away quietly, he noticed her. Thick eyebrows raised over clear blue eyes.
“I wasn’t expecting to find anyone else out here. You weren’t out in last night’s storm, were you?” He spoke.
The truth was something about him made Jacqueline uneasy. She smiled.
“I was able to find shelter. What about you?”
Generally, Jacqueline felt that superheroes attracted trouble. Normally, she was glad the Powered preferred the opposite coast and bigger cities. After last night, a superhero wouldn’t be the worst thing right now.
“Same,” He narrowed his eyes. “Do you need help getting back to town?”
“Oh! I’ll be fine! I just want to look around a little as long as I’m up here.”
Her eyes were on the trees parted like blades of grass behind him. She hoped he hadn’t noticed.
“I wouldn’t linger if I were you. The storm could come back.”
“Right back at you!”
He probably would’ve mentioned seeing a frightened fifty-foot-tall woman.
248 INELIGIBLE PRUDENT words
“He spoke the truth.”
I couldn’t believe all these sensible had fallen for this rhetoric. This was the kind of talk that started genocide. The us against you, speech. They say that history repeats itself if you fail to learn the lessons. I pushed through the crowd straight to the microphone.
“People do not fall for this again. Do not be a xenophobe, unduly fearful of what is foreign and especially of people of foreign origin. Do not be afraid or treat someone differently because of the colour of their skin or their ethnic origin.”
“But they’re taking our jobs” “Taking our food, our culture, our lives we were meant to have.” I heard people shout.
“These are untruths meant to distract you from the fact that the rich are getting richer and the poor in our society are suffering greatly in the process.”
“What would you do differently?” Someone asked.
“Me, but I’m not a leader.” I protested.
“See, not even ready with solution,” another one said.
I stepped up and told them how we tax the rich and redistribute wealth. Six days later I lay dying on the ground, a sniper having wounded me. I became a martyr, to the cause, I look on from above. Years have passed since I have died and people still haven’t changed. They still blame each other for their woes instead of the real culprits the rich. Time is infinite the angels say; but change will come. I cry, in heaven when?
I agree with the moral thrust of your story.
“He spoke the truth.”
“Does it matter? He hurt you.” Her voice was quiet, compassionate.
“Of course it matters.” Mine, on the other hand, spat the words at her like daggers. “I did exactly what he said I did.”
“But that doesn’t mean you are who he says you are.” I didn’t respond. “It doesn’t, Tom.”
“Will you help me forget or not?”
“Was any of it good? Christmases, birthdays? Love?”
“I don’t want the good, either. Don’t you get it? I don’t want to have a past!” She started to speak, but I was going now. “The bad – hell, no one wants the bad, right? The pain, the rejection? Being judged and being found wanting? But the good? That makes it all worth living, doesn’t it? Why do I want to remember being happy when it’s gone? I can’t go back there. All I can do is miss people and places and things.”
I was expecting some sort of argument from her. Some “smile because it happened” bullshit. What I got was a grin that mirrored the darkness in my words, twisted and vicious.
“You probably think you’re messed up, right? Broken?” She laughed. “They’re the ones who don’t get it, who think the past matters, who cling to old loves and old pain. Old dreams.
“Of course we will help you forget.”
I can relate to being so done with everything as to not even want memories of the good, let alone the bad.
#ThursThreads Week 498 is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope to catch you next week.