Welcome back to the home of Paranormal & Dauntless Romance.
Today is Thursday, but it’s a very special Thursday. It’s the QUINCENTENNIAL OF #THURSTHREADS!!
We’ve been doing this 500 weeks, which is almost 10 solid years. Whew! Are you ready for Week 500 of #ThursThreads, the challenge that ties tales together? This week there will be prizes offered because holy cow, 500 weeks!!
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 500:
Gamer, crazy cat lady and novice artist, Nellie Batz.
And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
“Do you come here often?”
Because it’s a special week, I’m offering prizes to the winners. Thanks to Louisa Bacio for her generosity, I have #ThursThreads stickers for your daytimer/planner. I also have Washi tape and other planner stickers. I’ll send these out to the winners. Good luck and happy writing!
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!
21 Replies to “#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – WEEK 500!!”
The café’s door swung open, blowing in snow. No matter how I tried, the moment was frozen in time.
He was already sitting with his book, and I could feel his stare on my backside as I waited on my order. It didn’t matter how often this moment occurred; it was as magical as the first.
I glanced back and smiled at him, earning a blush and smile in return. I didn’t wait for an invitation, merely slid into the chair across from him. “Do you mind?”
“Not at all.” He was still so damned handsome. “Do you come here often?” He set the book down beside his tea.
I smiled at him through the steam rising from my coffee. “Every night, in my dreams.”
Confused, he asked, “Do I know you?”
This part never got easier. I touched his ring to mine. “I’m your wife. Your name is Donovan Williams, and you were killed in the Aether War. I captured your spirit in a dream orb before your last breath.”
The magic of our wedding bands unlocked, and his smile grew. “Rose. How many days now?”
“Three thousand and seven. Have you been keeping track in your book? Do you need a new one?”
“I have a few more pages. How was your day?”
I told him about our daughter and my job the way I did every night.
“You should get real sleep. Mages need rest, not a half-life of dreaming in here.”
“Someday,” I promised, lying.
Josephine was blunt. “I won’t be here forever.”
It was the type of admission she made often, and each time was a fresh dagger. “I’m aware,” Gillian replied. “When you get to heave, Sebastian will greet you with his intolerable sass, ‘do you come here often?’”
“Don’t get snippy, Gill. I’m dying. Accept it. Go live your life.”
Gillian stood and began to pace before the foot of the bed. Although at home, it still felt like a hospital, the air saturated with disinfectant, the drapes always half closed. “You push me out!” She spoke wildly with her hands. “I need to be here for you!”
“You’re infatuated with that man from the bookstore!” Josephine shot back. “Pedro, right? You’re a fool not to chase that.” She coughed and reached a fragile hand for her water on the side table. A machine beeped; a monitor buzzed.
Gillian hated how Josephine was right. She couldn’t meet her face, watching her struggle to lift her cup, deteriorating day after day before her eyes. “I can’t do it. I have other responsibilities.”
“What? To me?” Josephine blew a raspberry and coughed hard again. “You already said Sebastian is waiting on me. There’s no reason for you not to move on too.”
Gillian took her seat at the bedside, grasping Josephine’s hand. “I can’t chase after Pedro. I can’t ever move on.”
Josephine’s eyes were tearing up. “Why not?”
She gave her lover a gentle squeeze. “Because he’ll never be you.”
247 words @AngoraShade
The Wood at the End of the High Street by Joseph P. Garland, @JPGarlandAuthor. 250 Words
Charles Wilson was a nervous boy of twelve. He had two older sisters and twin brothers five years younger. His sisters gave him no attention. Nor did his parents, whatever he’d received having been transferred to James and John.
He was, as I say, a nervous boy. He rarely ventured far from the house except for school or church or when taken for shopping or a vacation or expedition his parents insisted would do him good. “He’s always moping,” Molly, his oldest sister, said at the table and since everyone knew this was true there was never a debate.
Charles couldn’t count how often he woke in the night, angry at himself. He’d say, sometimes aloud—he had his own, small bedroom—that tomorrow he’d go out and not only would he go out he would go to the wood. And each time he said this, he was angry with himself the next night for being cowardly and not venturing beyond the row of stores on either side of the High Street that led to the wood.
Till one day he kept going. It was winter. The trees were bare, their branches threatening. He saw the opening to the right. A girl, his age, bundled as he was, and in blonde pigtails, sat at the base of a tree. She rose when she saw him. When he was close to her, he asked, “do you come here often?”
She smiled and nodded. She extended her hand, and Charles took it.
Ida stood in front of the old, dilapidated two-story house. Windows had long been broken out and stood wide open like sharp, glittering teeth. The door hung on by a single hinge and rocked back and forth.
“She ain’t gonna do it,” Jim sneered behind her to the others. The boys stood behind her, snickering.
“Is so!” cried Isabelle from beside her.
“I don’t think I can,” Ida whispered.
“You gotta shut them up, Ida.”
“But what if SHE’s really in there?”
“You don’t believe in ghosts,” Isabelle said, squeezing her hand.
Ida had declared more than once that she didn’t believe in ghosts… which had led her to this spot.
“Fine,” she breathed out.
She pried her hand from Izzy’s and marched up the broken concrete steps and across a brown, dead lawn.
The warped porch creaked under her feet. The door moved slowly, and beyond it shafts of light appeared here and there.
“Not too bad,” Ida muttered. She took a deep breath and slipped into the house.
“Further in!” one of the boys yelled.
Ida’s body screamed for her to turn and run, but she took another step.
Behind her the door slammed shut.
She spun, reached for the doorknob—her fingernails scratched at the wood—no doorknob.
Cold air brushed against her neck. Her eyes squeezed shut.
“I don’t believe in ghosts,” she said in a strangled whisper.
“But they believe in you,” a frigid voice said from just behind her. “Do you come here often?”
Ash stiffened when Lars pulled into the lot at the meadery. Alcohol. On a date. Every muscle seemed to tighten with remembered fear. Still, she tried; Lars had never given her cause to doubt his integrity. She inhaled sharply before asking, “Do you come here often?”
He parked with perfect symmetry and grinned at her. “Never, actually. You are the only other person I know outside of my family that even knows what mead is, Ashley. They’re having a tasting today. Historic recipe. I thought you’d like to try it.” With another eager smile, he slid out from behind the wheel and hurried around to open her door.
Her heart hammered while she waited for him. He wasn’t going drink and drive. He wasn’t going to get plastered and try anything. Lars was not that kind of man.
“Let’s go,” he said, offering her his hand and helping her to her feet. A breeze kicked her hair over her face and he pushed the strands out of the way. His fingers stilled at her temple. “Ashley. What’s wrong?”
She decided to be honest. “Promise not to drink?”
The air between them grew heavy. Then, he moved his hand to cup her face, expression pensive. “We can go somewhere else for dinner, Ashley. I promise not to drink, but I do want a bottle of the medieval recipe mead to take home.” He paused before bringing his forehead to hers. “Will that be all right?”
“Of course. And . . . thank you.”
249 “Billionaire story” words
“Do you come here often?” The voice is smoke and silk. Dirty and decadent. A promise of things that might be a threat. Things that definitely seem a tiny bit out of place… here.
“To rich hoarder auctions?”
The question earns him a raised eyebrow. “Some people make a perfectly respectable living scavenging. I don’t judge.”
“You’re no scavenger, though,” he says. “You’re a predator.”
“Takes one to know one?” There’s a smile lurking at the edges of a wide mouth, sneaking into the corners of midnight eyes. A gentle fingernail skimming the line of his jaw. “Or are you prey recognizing you’re in danger of being devoured?”
“I’m not prey.” But maybe he wants to be.
“I’ll still eat you up.” Warm lips skim the shell of his ear and thinking clearly is something other people do. “You’d like that, wouldn’t you?”
There’s a sound between a whine and a growl, and it’s only the tight sting in his throat that makes him realize it’s coming from him.
“Tasty.” Temptation whispers against his mouth, punctuated by a flick of tongue.
He licks back, the flavor unexpectedly bitter and numbing. The room spins. Or maybe that’s him as he jerks away. All the way to the floor. Where did the floor come from?
“Night-night, handsome,” he hears distantly. “Dream of me.”
“Wha—?” The word is thick in his mouth, too heavy to finish.
“You should trust your instincts more.” A kiss brushes his temple. “I am absolutely a predator.”
250 predator & prey words
Clancy’s. The legendary pub. As Catholic school girls, they’d dreamed of coming here to meet the sexy—because they were off-limits—Southie boys. Southie boys were bad news. Hoodlums. Thugs. Criminals. Kathleen glanced around the pub. Those Southie boys had grown into Southie men. Still sexy. Still bad news. Even happily-married Mary Pat was getting an eyeful.
The waitress deposited their drinks. Mary Pat nudged Kathleen as a man rose from the bar and headed their direction. “He’s been watching you.”
“Great.” Kathleen muttered but Mary Pat’s sharp gaze landed on her and she felt the chide all the way to her bones.
The man sidled up to her. “Do you come here often?”
“Not if I can help it.”
Nonplussed, the man blinked, his mouth partway open as he tried to construct some sort of response. Eventually closing his mouth, he focused on Mary Pat. She held up her left hand, the sparkling wedding rings obvious. He shrugged and walked away without further comment or interaction.
“What a tool,” Nora commented as Rosie nodded in agreement.
Kathleen wondered if they’d think so if he’d approached them first. “That’s me,” she quipped, pasting a bright smile on her face. “I’m just a tool magnet.”
Rosie and Nora exchanged glances that were both smirking and furtive. Kathleen, resigned to this ill-fated outing, lifted her pint to her lips. Her hand froze mid-way when her gaze caught on a pair of warm brown eyes. Maybe not so ill-fated after all, she thought.
250 Boston Wolves WIP words
He wandered about looking aimless and a little helpless.
The rooms appeared to be endless and people rushed by oblivious to his pain. The pain was becoming visible with each door he passed without finding the one he needed.
“Hello, do you know where…” his whispered words petered out as the recipient failed to hear the request.
He sat on the floor and tried the breathing techniques but the pain had begun to get in the way and so he just sat still and waited hopefully.
Footsteps nearby made him look up to see a kind face approaching his vicinity.
“Do you come here often?” he managed in a loude whisper.
The lady hesited before quickly realising his words were a cry for help. “Yes I use the gym often” She replied with a smile.
“Can you help me find where the water vending machine is? I ran out while I wad playing squash!”
“Sure, walk with me”
The lady took him to the nearest working vending machine and then back to the squash courts. His anxiety ordeal was over and he had managed it quite well.
(187 Words, @Lindorfan)
Frank on the Horn
Frank finally agreed to try and reach Henry Samuels. “Let me make some calls?” he asked. It seemed reasonable and I gave him free rein.
He settled in working his phone. At one point his daughter, Pepper, wandered in from the front of the candy shoppe.
“Do you come here often?” I asked, trying to lighten the mood. Frank’s panic as he dialed various connections, desperate to locate his buddy Hank, was evident and I could tell Pepper was concerned.
“It’s our shop,” she flipped back at me. “I belong here. You don’t. What are you doing to my father?”
She deserved the truth. “At the moment helping him trying to save your mother.”
“She’s fine. She’s with Uncle Solly.”
“That’s what he’s always asked me to call him. Not a blood uncle.”
Right, I thought. More a blood-soaked uncle.
“Nice guy is he?”
She sensed sarcasm, gave me a righteous sneer, and returned to handle customers.
Frank was getting more agitated, his tone cranky and whiney as he called his contacts, seeming to get nowhere. Finally, I heard, “When Jacko? When did you see him?” And then, “Good. Think he’s still there?”
There was another pause. “You have Maude’s number? I don’t know her.”
Frank then fumbled on the kitchen counter looking for a pen. He found a stubby pencil next to the phone and wrote a number down.
He then punched in some numbers.
We were close.
Hank was almost in the bag.
Nichelle stared in wonder at the rows upon rows of bookshelves.
What is this place?
She closed on the skeleton draped over one table, but stopped as something flitted out of the corner of her eyes. She jerked her gaze to the side, trying to see what had moved, but whatever it was, it was gone. She swallowed hard and scanned the shadowed spaces around her.
Another movement farther down the hall caught her gaze and she narrowed her eyes to see it better. It looked like a man, at least it was generally bipedal and upright, but it moved with a shuffling gait with hunched shoulders at least a foot above her own.
It shuffled straight for her.
She swallowed hard and backed up a step or two. She had the urge to call out, “Hey, handsome, do you come here often?” But when the being’s hollow eyes seemed to fixate on her, she locked the words behind her teeth.
The hollow-eyed man increased his speed of shuffling and she shifted to find an escape route.
Gotta get away. Gotta get away!
She bolted between the shelves, hoping to find somewhere to hide, but the hall stretched empty. The lumbering figure roared behind her, his footfalls increasing.
Oh my glory, there’s gotta be a way outta here.
Up ahead, another figure stepped into view. But it was definitely a man in a leather jacket, black t-shirt and jeans. Relief washed through her as she ran toward him.
246 ineligible #WIP500 words
*The Future Flies in on Silent Wings*
I didn’t know she was around until she flew in front of me and smiled, perfectly.
“Do you come here often?”
“H-h-here? You mean, to Heaven?”
Her laugh – like her smile – was perfect. Or was it angelic? I had much to learn. “No, silly. To the reincarnation lottery.”
I looked around, and the vaguely pleasant abstractness coalesced into what resembled a 1950’s bingo parlor, complete with a haze of cigarette smoke. Instead of the usual square of numbers and letters, though, the spinner of ping-pong balls sat in front of a list of names, some lit up, some not.
“No…I mean, I didn’t know.” I looked down at my hands, somehow perfect. “I’m new here.”
She laughed again, like everything that could be right was, and would forever be. “We get a lot of that. People missing their old lives, wanting to go back. But it doesn’t work like that.”
“The poet was right. You can’t go home again. Even if you returned to your old life – which isn’t possible – it’s over. It has to be.”
“Even for kids?”
She nodded, in a sad way that somehow said all grief would be replaced with love. “Kids usually get reincarnated, but they start anew in the best situations we can find. But not even we can control what happens next.”
I looked again at her perfect face and smiled my somehow also perfect smile. “And what if I don’t want to go back?”
“Ah, therein lies the grand adventure.”
The seagull flapped its wings briefly as it completed the last few feet of landing at the landfill. It was one I hadn’t seen before, I could tell by the details in the colors along its sides, and it didn’t smell like the rest of us.
I waddled over to it, as it punched at something bright and shiny on the ground. “Hi! Are you new here?”
The gull squawked back, while still keeping its beak shut enough to hang onto what it had found, “Yes. It’s my first time here.” Then, to be social, he continued, “Do you come here often?”
“Oh, yes. Humans do this once a week. I’ve got all kinds of bright, shiny decorations at home.”
“Once a week?” The new bird looked around. “They do this once a week?”
“Yes. Big trucks arrive, and dump stuff into these piles.” I hopped up and down as I spoke. “But, in just a few hours, they drive big machines around on it all, and turn all this,” I flapped one wing, and looked around, “into a few tiny blocks that they bury them in the ground.”
“Can’t we just dig it all up?”
“There’s no reason to. The blocks are too heavy, and the shiny things are all mushed into them.”
We chatted as we hopped along. We both found good shiny things.
“Nice meeting you. Hope you show up next week.”
With that, I took off to deliver my shiny find to my home.
The crowd moved with an ebb and flow of swaying bodies. A barrage of scents assaulted as he pushed through – clashing colognes, body sweat and the lofting pheromones of those desperate to find a companion for a night or a lifetime tugged at his attention.
The slender curve of her bare neck, and the dark curls framing her face like a heart-shaped invitation drew him in.
She sat in the empty booth alone, searching each passing face. Her breasts swelled from the sweetheart neckline of her red dress. He slid in on the opposite side, scooching until his thigh pressed against hers.
“There you are …”
A flash of fear or something else reflected in her eyes – more than the light from the candle on the table, and she shifted away.
“Do I know you?” She brought both her hands to the table, cracking each knuckle with her thumb. “Do you come here often?”
He brushed the hair from the side of her face. “What game are you playing tonight, my love? We agreed to meet here at this time – your request.”
“Oh.” The rise and fall of her chest slowed, and the amber sparkle of her eyes dimmed. “My apologies. You startled me. I didn’t expect…” She gestured toward him with her fingertips.
Marco wore a long-sleeved black collarless shirt, gray slacks and his normally long hair had been trimmed only a few hours ago. It didn’t matter that by morning, the cursed shoulder-length locks would return. Tonight mattered.
Humans often use noise to help themselves think. I confess I have never understood this process, even when I was human. However, it is worth a try, so tap, tap, tap goes my finger on the stone desk.
After a few taps, all it does is drive me batty and cloud my thoughts.
The problem is one I have never had before, which I imagine describes many problems in life. I once dated a woman in my youth, and she was certainly a problem. We did not last long, and I chose to never date again. She has reentered my life and I do not know how to deal with her.
Being over 200-year-old, I had thought her long dead. And she is. But my job as The One True Death sometimes means interacting with the long dead, and she has sought me out. I believe an old flame lingers for her while I moved on rather quickly.
“Do you come here often?”
I glance up and if I were in human form, I would frown. Where is a distraction when I require one?
“This is my office. To what do I owe the intrus-uhm, pleasure?”
Her transparent form smiles, as it solidifies. She clasps her thick hands, her blue eyes intense. The dead do not always remain so, and I find a sudden need to fix that.
“Mother wants to know why we never married.”
As the humans are fond of saying ‘oh, crap’.
Bela’s dazzling eyes find me from across the smoky bar. Black nail polish, blood red lips. Sensual to her fingertips. I need a drink.
The bartender approaches me, but Bela is at my side. She points to her drink and motions to the bartender to bring two more. How does she move so fast?
“Nevermind,” she says, as if reading my mind.
“Oh, yeah.” The album playing on the jukebox. I feel a blush rising to my face. I’m paralyzed. I can’t seem to form words.
The bartender returns with our drinks, and Bela lifts hers to her lips, her eyes never leaving mine. For an instant I see flashing teeth, drops of blood.
I interviewed her once, a thousand years ago. Bela hadn’t changed. She is stunning.
“Do you still dance?” she asks. She puts out her hand. I swallow my drink and slide off the stool. My knees are shaking.
“Immortality looks good on you, Ellie.”
Bela bares her teeth, for just an instant. A flash of eternity. An eternity of bliss.
“Just one kiss?” Bela asks. Her eyes are looking into mine. She lowers them to my mouth. Bela knows the answer before I say it.
Later, I’m alone in the restroom, washing my face with cold water as if it was all a dream when someone walks in.
“Do you come here often?” she says.
I’m getting a bad vibe. Before I could move away, she pulls a wooden stake from her backpack.
“Do you come here often?”
Ash paused before turning to look over her shoulder, pulling the hat lower over her eyes. “Excuse me?”
The shop girl smiled, holding out a tray of treats cut up into small sizes. “If this is your first time, we can offer suggestions. You are welcome to try a sample to see if you actually like it before committing to a purchase.”
“Oh..thank you. I’m just looking right now.”
“Have a sample. The pastry with the red is our cherry bite seasoned with vanilla. It is very popular.”
She should have come when it was a little more busy since the girl had no one else to talk to. Ash cleared her throat. “I’m here to see the pie man about some rhubarb.”
The girl’s smile faded before she put the tray aside. “Give me one moment.”
She sunk her hands into her pockets and hunched her shoulders. Why did she have to be the one to do this? She was bad about sneaking around. She glance at the tray before picking up the cherry vanilla thing she mentioned and popped it into her mouth. The pastry was flakey and the cherry wasn’t overpowering. It was really good. She looked around for another sample before there was a throat clearing behind her, the man’s baritone voice rumbling like tumbling rocks.
“What can I do for you, Ashbringer?”
232 non-judgey ineligible Judge words
Standing on the cliff watching the storm come in across the sea; my red hair seemed to lift of its own accord.
I stretched my arms across the open space saying the incantation.
“Do you come here often?” a voice at my elbow said.
I hadn’t heard him approach. I jerked and he grabbed me, before I slipped over the cliff face. He was tall six feet and his hair, black, thick and straight flowed down to his shoulders. His eyes were a piercing blue.
“Where did you come from?” I asked.
“From your dreams,” He answered.
“Full of lines, aren’t you?”
“This is the first time a witch has transported me across time and space not knowing she did it, “he laughed.
“The spell was to vanquish our enemies.”
“Tell me of your people.”
I told him our enemies had decimated our men and taken women.
“I’ll help you,” he declared.
“I can handle this myself.”
“I know you can. You seem like a strong capable witch but everyone needs help sometimes and you did conjure me up.”
I decided to take him up on his offer ad he taught me some magic that would help vanquish our enemies.
Two weeks have passed and the enemy has retreated. I’ve won more than peace. Declan says he wants to stay. I’ve decided to give him a trial run. After all, if he displeased me, I could always magic him away at least that was my plan, until I married him.
250 words @SweetSheil
Jacqueline would have preferred to avoid going by Crystal Lake. Unfortunately, it was the fastest way back. Her girlfriend, Jill, was moving alright, leaning into Jacqueline for comfort more than support. Though Jill’s external injuries were shockingly mild, her difficulty concentrating or speaking had Jacqueline terrified of a concussion from the cave collapsing. She had to get Jill back to town. She shouldn’t have dragged her out here, to begin with.
The raven-haired man Jacqueline wanted to avoid wasn’t at the lake. If she weren’t so preoccupied, she wouldn’t have jumped so conclusively to relief at not seeing him.
“Do you come here often?”
The man faced the women’s ruined camp. Hardness in his already cold tone set off every alarm in Jacqueline’s head. She laughed and smiled, positioning herself subtly between the man and Jill.
“Oh, yeah! All the time! After last night’s storm, we really better get back down before they send search parties.”
The man turned around. The way he looked at Jill made Jacqueline want to punch him in his condescending face.
“Now I understand why you wouldn’t leave when I told you to. Pity.”
Jacqueline kept smiling, “Well, we’ll be going now.”
“Now it’s too late,” he shook his head. “If you behave yourselves, I promise to kill you quickly.”
“Excuse me?!” Jacqueline dropped her smile furiously.
“You’ve stumbled into something bigger than you could possibly understand.”
Would he have chosen those words if he knew about Jill growing five stories during the storm?
249 PRUDENT words
#ThursThreads Quincentennial (Week 500!!) is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope you’ll join us again next week.