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 502 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 502:
Cat afficionado, Editor, and Mid Week Flash host, Miranda Kate.
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And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
“Why are we here?”
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!
18 Replies to “#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 502”
Nolan leads me through the dark. The longer we walk, the worse my nerves become. He’s hardly said more than a handful of words since our sparring match, and maybe if I’d been more awake, I would’ve thought twice about following him into the woods. I’m still a bit groggy, and the nocturnal sounds of the forest are a stark reminder of my interrupted sleep.
Too late to turn back, though.
So I push forward, straining my senses for any hint of a threat. When he stops, he grabs my arm and pulls me into a crouch and points ahead. Hidden behind trees, we have a decent view of a clearing. It’s empty.
“Why are we here? The clearing is-”
He mutters something. A moment later, magic shimmers in front of us and reveals the faint glow of embers signaling a recently dead campfire. Figures rest on the ground, but I can’t see much else. When I try to shift closer, Nolan holds me in place and shakes his head.
“You’ll trip their wards.”
“Who are they?”
“If I had to guess? Probably assassins after Kieran.” His eyes meet mine. “They’ve been following us for days.”
“Days? And you just led them here? To us? To my sister?”
“They outnumber me. Would have been reckless to engage on my own and risk Kieran.” His voice turns thoughtful. “But with another mage…”
My ego is still wounded after our fight, but I understand his reasoning.
“Fine. But you follow my lead.”
250 WIP words
JD “Danny Boy” Moore was not a patient man. He glared at the two cops. The plainclothes detective looked rumpled and grumpy. The second stood straight, so spit-and-polished Danny Boy considered tossing his coffee cup at the man. He refrained.
“Why are we here?” The detective’s lip curled into a snarl as he asked the question.
Danny Boy eyed the uniform. “You didn’t tell ’im?”
“I thought you might want to see the video first.” He sailed the CD in his hand like a miniature Frisbee and it landed directly in front of the man dominating room.
Picking it up with fat, awkward fingers, Danny Boy shoved the disk into his computer. When nothing happened, the police captain slid around behind the desk, appropriated the keyboard and tapped some keys. The screen background blurred as the video—obviously from a security camera—began to play. Danny Boy watched the sleek BMW pull up to and then inside one of his warehouses down on the Boston docks. The cop hit another key and the video fastforwarded until the same car departed.
Danny Boy glanced up. “So?”
“That’s Tommy Gallagher’s car. The night he was murdered.”
The detective jerked and stepped toward the desk. “What the fuck?”
“Where did you get this?” The accusation in Danny Boy’s voice was apparent.
The cop didn’t flinch. “Theodore Vasile.”
Danny Boy pointed at the detective. “Bragg, you get me an O’Connor for the cop’s murder.” His smile didn’t reach his piggy eyes. “Vasile is mine.”
250 Boston Mafia Wolves WIP words
“Why are we here?” she says. “This place is noisy-ugly.” I cannot see her, but I feel her small fingers cold in mine. As hallucinations go, this is not a bad one.
“It’s war,” I tell her. “Bad men are trying to destroy everything. I …” I cough, spraying blood down my battledress. Jesus, is this it? Is this my end? I look down to where my legs used to be, bloody torn stumps all that is left after the bomb exploded beneath me. I shake with terror.
“Don’t be scared, Daddy,” she tells me. My breath is ragged, painful, but the fear evaporates at the sound of her voice, a sound I have not heard for too many years.
“I’m not,” I say, despite the burning in my lungs. “I’m not afraid now that you’re here, sweet pea.” My lips are as dry as old bones as I take my last, trembling sip of life, then suddenly here she is, my baby girl, still six years old after all this time.
“Yay!” She smiles. “You’re here! Come on, let’s go and haunt Mummy.”
“Why are we here? You ask? What a foolish question. If you ignore history, it repeats itself, haven’t you heard that?” the Prime Minister complained.
“I didn’t ignore your requests; they went to committee where they await the ratification.”
“Paperwork! You are saying paperwork got us here?”
“Quit laying blame, it’s time to do something,” I protested.
They ignored me and kept arguing.
“Let’s use diplomacy, “the member of parliament said.
“We’ve tried that they aren’t listening; they claim it’s to protect their people from outside interests.”
“Their people but they are a separate country, not part of our country,” another member complained, flabbergasted.
“Why doesn’t the world stop them; don’t they realize they are at risk if they overtake us?”
“No, they are all in their own bubbles; they don’t think beyond their own borders,” I answered.
“We should send out some more tanks,” a member declared.
“Nonsense, diplomacy will end this.”
“You’re living in a dreamworld.”
“It’s too late they’ve taken Germany.”
“We are on the frontlines.”
“Our government has escaped to rule.”
“We’ve escaped, but what of our people? Buildings have been destroyed, homes, civilians are dead.”
“If they didn’t get out it’s their problem.”
“There is no safe place,” I answered, No one spoke out when other countries expanded their territories, history repeats itself.”
“Are you saying that Germany taking over us Poland, is a lesson?”
“Yes, it’s a lesson, we can never afford not to learn.” I answered, crying, knowing the devastation I expected ahead.
250 words @SweetSheil
Kendra shivered as the cold November wind brought horizontal snow against her back. She wore her best down coat, Nepali wool hat, favorite Ravenclaw scarf, and leather gloves, and they still didn’t hold back the searing chill.
That might not be from the wind.
It had been a week since she’d performed Colleen’s spell, and…nothing. Her life hadn’t changed and Phinn hadn’t appeared. Marbles, her tracker demon familiar, had settled in and kept the yard around her home free of raccoons, coyotes, mountain lions, and bears. Not that she’d seen many before, but the demon was a bigger predator, and the other carnivores knew it.
Kendra pushed into the Cloudburst Coffee & Spa to see if the soothing atmosphere and the warm teas could relieve some of her melancholy. The warmth from the coffee shop washed over her, banishing the cold with the scents of fresh coffee and baked goods. She sighed a little as she caught sight of a sign over the counter that read, “Why are we here? To make your day a little warmer, sweeter, and gentler.” She hoped it was true because she felt more like roadkill than resident witch.
That could be your grief talking.
More like her worry and anxiety of what could be happening to Phinn. What if the Fae killed him and her spell had been too late? She shoved the thought aside as she ordered the biggest Indian Chai they had and found a place to sit to wait.
248 ineligible #CloudburstColorado words
Usually, my truck only went where it was ordered to go by headquarters. I had some discretion over where we went when we got there, like when we went to Jackson. We’d started the trip back to what had been Branson, Missouri before the war. It was a long trip. Most of the interstates were destroyed, making it a trip on small state and county roads.
The truck had leaned the seat back, and let me sleep while it drove. I’d slept a solid five hours. And when I woke up, I knew something was different. The sun was in the wrong place if we were heading to Branson.
“Where are we?”
My truck answered, “In the Ozark National Forest.”
“Why are we here?”
“We have new orders.”
“What are they?”
“They’re from AI 21. Something it needs to verify.”
AI 21 was not human. Artificial Intelligence Unit 21. It ran automated weapons, medical, and economic systems everywhere within 500 miles of Branson.
“There’s a lab grown food plant controlled by the Wellington family.”
“John Wellington ordered the plant to self-destruct.”
That would be a disaster. That plant provided food to nearly a third of the country. It if was gone, a lot of people were going to starve.
My truck continued. “Other AIs report similar destruction of plants controlled by other families.” My truck paused. “The families are trying to kill everyone. If this is verified, the AIs will kill the families, to save everyone.”
The car pulled up to the gate and Milo gaped through the fogged window. The house beyond the long drive was dark and there was no light escaping from it. Milo wiped the window with his sleeve and tried to see more clearly. There was no pressing need to leave the safety of the car immediately so he gazed and recalled the earlier conversation that was about to change his life in ways he had not imagined and certainly had no inkling of yet. His parents had informed him they were busy and he would be lonely at home. The wind blew the tip of a branch towards the car and it tapped on his window and with a snap back to reality He muttered aloud “Why are we here?”
The door flew open and a stern but smiling face greeted him with a prospectus of rules as a welcome pack. The chauffeur had handed Milo’s trunk into the foyer and so Milo unfolded from the seat and followed the teacher. Milo never saw the chauffeur again.
The opening words that head greeted Milo with were a blur except from the line “we are here to mask and heal our abilities.”
Weeks passed and Milo was still none the wiser. The students took some classes together but many were at night and their homework diaries highlighted the phases of the moon.
Why were we here? Milo now understood that gifted, occasionally hairy children need a safe place to learn.
@lindorfan 249 words.
A couple of years back, I got a yen for a social life away from crime and crims…you know, my stock in trade. My folks had been rug cutters extraordinaire. Dancing had kept them healthy and probably in love way longer than gardening would have.
But they also gardened.
So, who knows what really was the glue that held them together?
In a moment of fleeting leisure, I signed up for some dance lessons and that’s where I had met Maude.
She was in her late eighties then and was one of the instructors. It was a great six months until Covid struck.
Then the classes ended.
I lost track of Maude.
I was happy she was still alive and kicking.
Maybe even dancing.
She stepped aside and let us in.
I gave her a politically incorrect hug.
It seemed appreciated.
“Henry’s still sleeping. Can I make you some tea…or…?”
“Tea’s fine, Maude,” I said.
She left us in her living room and went off to boil water. Frank and I were listening to house noises, Maude and her tap water, creaks, and groans from upstairs.
Then footsteps made their way down to us.
Suddenly Henry Samuels, dressed in a silk robe, clutching a humongous pistol, yelling. “WHY THE HELL ARE YOU HERE?” took control of the moment.
Frank cowered, then cried out, “Don’t shoot, Hank?”
I stood my ground and answered his question with a question. “Why are we here, Henry? To save this toad family. That’s why.”
The tank burst through the wall, showering the people with a hail of cracked concrete and bricks. Its commander was invisible, hidden behind its ceramic-strengthened steel walls; his field of view restricted by the periscopes he was using. He was here to take possession of the town, not to negotiate. There were few resources here to be fought over; it was just a dot on a map to the generals, a collection of tired architecture to be levelled and driven over.
Danylo watched from behind the toilet block, witnessing the tank’s progress along the main road that split the town. He held his short-range transceiver against his ear, waiting for their instructions.
“Tell me again,” Marko said. “Why are we here? What’s the point of all this?” He was wearing a bandolier of grenades, their fuses trimmed to explode after a delay of three seconds. He’d been a rugby player up to three months ago, a hooker in the national team. He had transferrable skills; that was why he was here now.
Danylo nodded, listening to the voice in his ear. The tank drove through another building and continued north to the town centre.
Their moment was almost here. They’d have just one chance, one short opportunity to stop this assault on their homes.
The T-90 slewed across the high street, flattening the combined convenience store and gas station, hitting them broadside on. Danylo punched at the air and gave the order.
“Do it,” he said. “Throw it now.”
249 words – twothirdsrasta.blogspot.com
Laelia stood her ground as Troyen conjured orbs of lethal magic. The two sisters faced each other from opposite ends of what was once the central courtyard of their ancestral home. Before their father led the Council’s army against their city, burning it to the ground.
“Who are you?” Troyen said. “You have no right to be here.” Troyen hurled a mage orb at her younger sister.
Laelia ran for cover. Not fast enough, but the orb exploded harmlessly in the air. “That was just a warning,” Troyen said. “The next one will hit its target.”
“Are you sure of that?” Laelia said.
“Do you think your magic is stronger than mine?” Troyen laughed. “If you had any magic, that is.” Troyen stepped toward her. “Get down from there. Only Enbreis have the right to stand where you are.”
“I have as much right as you. Eliese Enbrie was my mother, too.”
Troyen’s face paled. “It can’t be—Laelia? It’s you? But how? No one survived the destruction of the city.”
“We did. Mother and I. Guerrin knew of a secret mage ‘staircase’ and led us to safety as the city burned.
“Guerrin? So the old Mage still lives?” Troyen looked wistful, and Laelia pictured the days when they were children playing in this very courtyard. “Well, tell me,” Troyen said, sarcastically. “Why are we here? Are we all going to have a happy reunion?”
“Not exactly.” Guerrin stepped from the shadows holding his mage sword inches from Troyen’s throat.
The car ride was only five hours, but it felt like 500. In this part of the country, the only radio stations were shit-kickin’ country or God’ll kick the shit out of you, and I was in the mood for neither.
I don’t know that Cassie would have heard anything, even if there was a live band in the back seat. She was staring out the window at nothing – it was a cloudy night – and every so often muttering the only word she said these days. “Why.”
It was more a statement than a question for her, but no one knew what had happened to her to cause her brain to go haywire. She left for school one morning, a chatty, smarter-than-the-world sophomore, and then we got the call from the hospital. Physically, she was unhurt, there are other ways to get hurt.
We’d tried everything the local docs could think of, but every day we heard her telling us “Why” over and over. She’d move when instructed, and she’d swallow if you put food in her mouth, but the rest of her was gone.
The text I’d gotten – from a blocked number – had simply read “Bring Cassie. I can tell you why.” The address it gave was in central nowhere, but after years of trying, a random straw was worth grasping.
The gravel crunched under our tires as we pulled into the drive. As the headlights illuminated the featureless stone building, Cassie uttered her last “Why.”
“Are we here?”
“Why are we here?” Jacqueline scrutinized the sterile modern office suspiciously.
“We just have a few questions,” Agent Bass smiled affably, his navy suit straining against his broad frame. “Coffee? Tea?”
Jacqueline waved him off with one hand, keeping her other protectively around her girlfriend’s shoulders. Jill had been clingier than usual since the events at Crystal Lake but then so had Jacqueline. Still, Jill looked around Bass’s office with wide-eyed interest. Bass motioned them to a small couch by a coffee table and took the adjacent armchair himself.
“How are you feeling, Miss Gulliver?”
The question was for Jill, who cocked her head curiously. Jacqueline answered with a question of her own.
“Why do you ask?”
“Well, you seemed very worried about her when you had us airlift you to the hospital.”
Jacqueline sighed, “We’re still monitoring for possible traumatic brain injury, but the doctors think she looks good.”
“Feel fine,” Jill added.
It choked Jacqueline up that her brilliant girlfriend hadn’t constructed a complete sentence since the cave collapse two days ago.
Bass nodded, “I’m glad to hear that. Now, I hope you can clear up for me; how, exactly, did the two of you apprehend a supervillain?”
“I hit him with a rock.”
Jacqueline hoped Bass didn’t notice her squeezing Jill’s hand and that Jill understood to keep quiet. What Jacqueline said was true. It just wasn’t the answer to his question. She didn’t want PRUDENT knowing about Jill’s recent experiences with being fifty feet tall.
249 PRUDENT words
They fled over the rough terrain. Rocks and brambles cut into her bare feet. Her chest tightened, whether from fear or exertion. It didn’t matter. The end result threatened, literally at their backs. If they stopped, they’d be caught.
Juniper took the front the escape, pushing through the heavy foliage. If Cheyanne fell too far back, the branches snapped against her skin, stinging. Too fast, and she stumbled on her older sister’s heels.
The tall trees blocked light from the full moon. Shadows danced among the thick limbs. From behind her, something smashed through the path they’d already traveled. A creature much bigger tracked them.
A sharp pain stabbed Chey’s side, and she called out, stumbling. Palms against her thighs, she gulped deep breaths, willing the stich to unwind.
“There’s no time,” her sister urged her on. “We have to keep going.”
“I-I-don’t think I can. You go. Go.” She pushed her hand away. “Go.”
Behind them, closer this time, a loud boom resonated, sending sound waves shimmering through the forest. A howl resounded over the chaos.
“No way,” Juniper grabbed Chey’s wrist and dragged her forward. “Why are we here? To give up? Do you think this a tea party, and you can go home when you don’t want to?”
Chey’s lip quivered and tears burned her eyes. That’s exactly what she wanted to do – go home where it was safe and warm, and had bandages. She imagined dipping into a hot bath.
Resolve set in.
Handing my friend a margarita, I bob to the heavy bass beat, waiting for my favorite band to take the stage. Three bottles of water are tucked safely into my jean pockets as the lights dim and crowd roars.
“Why are we here?”
“Because you need to get out more!” I shout, as the opening drum beat starts. “Drink up and have fun!”
“I do not require sustenance.”
I throw my horns in the air as the crowd behind us surges forward, almost crushing me against the barrier. Horace holds me back, drink in one hand, the other waving an invisible wall between me and the metal barrier. It sort of ruins the fun although it will save me some bruising tonight. On stage, the lead singer bounds into place, microphone in hand, belting out their latest hit.
“Horns up, let’s go!” the singer shouts.
Horace mimics my horn gesture with his free hand, bobbing his head. There is no better place to be than a rock concert, and I’m determined to show The One True Death how to have fun. The next thing I know, Horace joins a circle pit, running and shoving people with everyone else. Laughing, I sing along, horns up, grin on my face.
“This is fun!” Horace shouts, rejoining me, his eyes doing little circles. He sways a moment, his human form grinning. “I believe we should do this again!”
Death is having fun. My mission here is complete.
#ThursThreads Week 502 is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope to catch you next week.