Welcome back to the home of Paranormal & Dauntless Romance. Today is Thursday and that means it’s time to start flashing. We’re nearing the end of our ninth year of weekly prompts. It’s amazing we’ve gone this long! This is Week 505 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 505:
Renaissance Woman, Newfie mom, and Romance Author, Silver James.
Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads |
And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
“It’s all uphill from 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!
14 Replies to “#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 505”
Solly Vapors was headquartered in a warehouse on the city’s edge. It served as his home, or so I’d been told by a woman who’d carelessly fallen under Solly’s saccharine spell a year earlier, as well as a shipping/receiving depot for any enterprise Solly cared to step his humongous toes into.
“From what Gracie told me,” I shared with Frank and Hank, “Solly’s apartment’s on the second floor. Has a back entrance. To get to it, we need to enter the adjoining warehouse.”
“Why not go in through his warehouse?” Frank asked. “How tough would that be?”
Hank gave him a reprimanding glance, said, “Few years ago, a local folkie, good voice, nice sense of lyrics, wrote a song…and performed it at that old coffee house, down on Franklyn, remember, Frankie?”
“Nah. Don’t listen to songbirds.”
Hank nodded, continued with, “Well the song started with Solly Vapors, Prince of Capers…yadayada. Word got back to Solly, and Solly screamed. PRINCE? I’M THE FRIGGIN’ KING. My point is that Solly has a few permanent hires…his palace guards. We’d have to go through them if we used the front door.”
“Good point, Hank,” I chipped in metaphorically, “We best pretend Solly is a pair of long johns, and we’ll enter through the flap in the rear.”
With that, we worked our way straight to Solly’s back door and the steep stairs beyond.
I looked up, said “It’s all uphill from here.”
Frank added, “I hate heights.”
He wasn’t the only one.
Kirk kicked the inverted bucket into place and climbed on top. From this vantage point, he could peer out the kitchen window to scan the hillside—it wasn’t that far, maybe a mile. Two at the most. He had walked there many times, just to kill time, for something to do. But today was not that day. Not a time to wander in the thick underbrush of the knoll, searching for nothing: today the mountain was on fire—had been for days. Kirk kept an observant eye on the conflagration’s progress. It varied in intensity; some days the vegetation just smoldered as glowing embers took a much-needed break from the inferno, and he watched as a haze enveloped the area, clouding the air with a fine particulate mist. Other days, the fire burned forcefully, orange and red flames licking the landscape so aggressively you could hear the trees scream and the acrid smell of charred leaves filled your lungs with unbreathable sludge.
The incline was too steep for normal firefighting equipment—trucks could not climb the steep grade. The county used helicopters to drop water bombs over the fire. Kirk surveyed this procedure, fascinated.
As the days passed and the blaze continued, he felt the inferno in his soul spread, consumed with rage at her betrayal.
Endless days stacked up, embracing each other for support.
Convincing himself of life’s utter futility, he fed himself a constant supply of dismal affirmations: It’s all uphill from here.
The pain still echoed in Tam’s memory as loudly as the blast that had knocked her across the victim’s body.
“Oh my glory, Tam.” Merida’s voice shook. “All the questions I have sound stupid in my head. Were you okay? Evidently because you’re here. Was it bad? Well duh, the scar on your back. Did it hurt? Again, duh. I’m just so sorry.”
Tam forced a laugh. “I don’t know if they’re dumb questions. I don’t really remember the pain when he hit me in the back. It was so sudden and shocking that I blacked out. My partner loaded him up and he died of lead poisoning, so I’m told. I don’t remember much until I woke up at the hospital after reconstructive surgery.”
“Oh, honey, I’m so sorry.”
Merida’s words soothed some of the hurt, even though it had been two years before.
“The investigation into some of the other team’s actions showed negligence. Because I’d nearly been killed and my shoulder blade completely destroyed, causing damage to my lung, I was given a very large settlement and medical retirement.” That was the quick and dirty explanation and the only one she’d offer. “So, I had time to look around and find a new place to live doing what I wanted to do. And it’s all uphill from here.”
“Does that mean things are looking up or becoming a slog?”
Tam leaned down and kissed Merida’s forehead. “Looking up. Definitely looking up.”
244 ineligible #WIP500 words
Johnny got out of the car, tipping side to side as his non-articulated legs were moved as if he was walking. He leaned back at an impossible angle and said in an exaggeratedly-gravelly voice, “Well, it’s all uphill from here, Martha.”
Martha bounced out of the car, the spring where her legs could have been twanging softly. “The road ahead looks rough. It’s squishy and I fear the wheels will get tangled in the tall grass.” Her voice was squeaky and high.
“Nothing can stop us, honey! We’re intrepid explorers, and we mean to conquer this mountain, even though it’s the tallest in the world!”
(Under its breath, the mountain said, “I think that’s an exaggeration there, Johnny.”)
Johnny and Martha ambulated in their awkward ways back to the car. In the back seat of their Explorer Mobile were their friends – Roary the Lion, Giggles the Clown, and a penny.
“Vroom vroom!” went the engine.
“Let’s go!” roared Roary.
“Nothing can stop us, we’re intrepid!” cried Martha, and the car started zooming up the mountain.
(The mountain giggled. “Hey, that tickles!”)
The car jiggled up and down, and Johnny called out. “It’s an earthquake! Everyone hold on!” Everyone did – except for the penny. It bounced out and rolled away under the couch, lost forevermore.
“Ki-ids! Time for dinner!”
Johnny and Martha looked at each other. “I guess we’re camping here tonight.” Then footsteps, like a heard of rhinos.
(The mountain sighed. “Can someone bring me a plate?”)
This was a terrible idea. I had a feeling I was going to hate this the first day we started training. Will I stick it out? Yes. Will I ever do this again? Never. My brother’s been doing this for ten years.
“Welcome to Pocahontas!”
It’s ninety degrees, and the Iowa humidity is showing off. It’s noon, and I’m dying. My butt hurts, I’m hungry, and all at once, these church taverns look amazing.
Once we have plates, we find a shady place to sit, our bikes near the bench we’ve found. We’re camping in a friend’s backyard tonight, before we ride again tomorrow to Mason City. Riding across Iowa on a bike: not as fun as it seems.
“It’s all uphill from here,” my brother says, ground beef dripping from his mouth as he talks.
“Joy.” I sip my water, then take a bite from the sandwich. “I hate you.”
He starts laughing and I can’t help it, I laugh with him. Wiping his mouth, he grins at me.
“I know. But I’m glad you did with me. And hey, you’ve got a cool story to tell your friends.”
“How did you spend your summer vacation? Oh, you know, swearing and sweating through 468 miles of Iowa in the middle of the summer on a bike. As you do.”
I toast him with my water and then burst out laughing. I bitch, but I am having fun. At least I won’t have to exercise anymore this summer.
He’s waiting for her on a motorcycle, attracting the attention of everybody within a block and a half. Its exhaust has been cut back to a stump, and when he twists the throttle, it sounds like he’s taunting a woodchipper with a mature redwood. Anyone not watching them would need to be deaf, although Elaine thinks she’ll be wishing she was before they clear the town.
“I’ve got you a helmet,” Idaho mouths, holding up the article in question. It’s blue, like anodised steel, and the din disappears when she pushes her head inside. It’s a merciful blessing, but now she wonders how she’ll be able to make herself heard.
There’s a pop, and then she hears him, the wadding making it sound like he’s in her head.
“Just speak if you need to talk,” he says, scooting forward on the seat. “You’ll have to hold tight – we’ve got a long way to go, and we’ll need to move fast, so you may prefer to close your eyes.” She hears him laugh. “Scouts’ honour, it does work,” he continues. “I do it half the time. It helps me thread my way through the peak time traffic, dulling any doubts that might make me hesitate.”
And then they’re off, slow at first and then like a missile, her arms pressing her tight against his back. “It’s all uphill from here,” her handler had told her during her briefing. “You’re going to need to trust him with your life.”
250 words (including title) – twothirdsrasta.blogspot.com
My heart was broken as I heard the words echo in my head, “You are as dull as dishwasher, I’m moving in with my administrative assistant Carla.”
Telling my mom my heartbreak she said I needed to call my girlfriends and have a night out and move on. That’s when I realized Paul had cut me off from all of my friends. I only had one that still spoke to me.
“It’s all uphill from here there isn’t that many guys left out there for thirty-year-olds,” I complained.
“I was thirty when I married your dad. I also had other boyfriends before your dad, I was engaged to Greg for three years and he dumped me at the altar.”
“You never said anything.”
“Maybe I should have; I’ll tell you what your grandmother told me. Life maybe an uphill climb but the climb puts you on a perch where you can see all the good stuff and find it. Get on that perch and find a guy who will treat you like the lady you are. That night I went out, found your dad and married him..”
I took Grandma’s advice to heart went out and flirted danced the night away, but he didn’t appear. A month later discouraged I was about to swear to never date the opposite sex, when he walked through the bar door. Terrence was kind, polite and endearing. Today as we say our vows, we celebrate that love is an uphill climb, worth waiting for.
Sword’s last visit had been three months ago. Rose decided that was long enough. That morning, with the sunrise, she floated across the lake to Mystica’s home. The trees graciously let her in.
“Hi, Rose. What brings you here?”
“I’m going to go visit Sword.”
Mystica smiled. “You’re only six, you know. I shouldn’t let you make long journeys on your own.”
“I know, Mamma. And if I was anyone else, I couldn’t argue with you.”
Rose took Mystica’s hand, “Let’s get my sisters, so I can hug them before I go to the ocean.”
Mystica knew, if anyone other than Rose wanted to make the trip, she would not let them. But Rose was special. The forest and everything living in it took care of Rose, and kept her safe. The trees would shelter her at night. The wolves and hawks would guard her as she slept. The squirrels, rabbits, and other birds would gather food for her.
“Of course, Rose. Would you like to tell Oceana that you are coming to visit?”
“No. I want it to be a surprise for Sword.”
“How will they know when you reach the ocean?”
“Sword will hear me.”
They floated across the lake, though Mystica’s broken wing did not let her fly. The white magic carried them, and placed them gently on the shore. As Rose gathered her sisters, Mystica wished being a mother was easier. “It’s all uphill from here, isn’t it?”
She swore the white magic laughed.
“Am I even moving?” The forklift operator groused.
“Keep at it! It’s all uphill from here,” his spotter laughed.
“What’s in these, anyway?” The operator asked the dark-haired doctor in the white lab coat up by the open warehouse doors.
Dr. Murray smiled, “Hopefully, everything we need to create terrariums with that island’s ecosystem.”
“Excuse me,” a firm feminine voice drew Dr. Murray’s attention to the stairs up to the front of her warehouse. “We’re looking for Dr. Cari Murray?”
A couple of college girls were descending the stairs to the dockyard. The brunette who spoke seemed self-assured. Her auburn-haired companion was more wide-eyed.
“I’m Dr. Murray.”
“I’m Jacqueline Beaufort, and this is Jillian Gulliver. We’re sorry, but there wasn’t anyone upstairs to help us.”
Dr. Murray glanced at her rose gold wristwatch. “Francine must be out to lunch. What brings you here? Internships?”
Jacqueline shook her head. “Greg Gunnar thought you might be able to help us.”
“Oh?” Dr. Murray arched an eyebrow.
“Jill hasn’t been herself since we were caught in a cave-in. During Thunderbird’s attack.”
“Follow me!” Dr. Murray’s eyes shone excitedly. “We have tests to run! You two finish moving the containers into the warehouse!”
The dockworkers acknowledged their assignment, and the college girls hopped to match Dr. Murray’s swift pace.
“None of the hospital tests showed anything unusual!”
“Their instruments are antiques! Mine are all made here in house!”
PRUDENT always sent fascinating referrals. Today was shaping up excellently.
244 PRUDENT words
Hansel threw back his head and moaned. “I can’t believe we’re not there yet.”
“Oh, shut up,” his sister, Gretel, reprimanded.
“But it’s all uphill from here.” He plopped down in the middle of the path. “No amount of candy can be wort this.”
“Get your fat ass up and keep walking.” Gretel grabbed a stick from the ground and poked him where his shirt had ridden up his back.
Quick as a cobra’s strike, Hansel spun and grabbed the stick. He broke it over his knee and said, “I told you, no more poking.” His voice grew louder with each word.
A puckish smile spread over Gretel’s face. She sank to her knees so that she was eye-to-eye with her brother. “I knew there was still some fight left in you.” Her expression warmed. “Listen, I don’t want to make this trip either, but you know what sugar is going for on the black market. That witch’s house is our ticket out of here. We have to do this.”
“Then what?” He tried to keep his chin from trembling. “We kill the witch, sell her house, make a ton of money… then what happens?”
Gretel sat beside her brother. She laid her head on his shoulder like she used to when they shared a bedroom. “Money can buy stuff,” she whispered.
“What can it buy?”
She wiped a stray tear from her cheek. “Maybe it can buy our parents’ love.”
@laurelkileauthor on facebook and instagram
The first thing Evan noticed was just how cold he was, quickly followed by dark, alone, and encased in ice.
He started to dig, his only clue as to what was up, was the direction the snow fell as he tried to push it out of his way. He’d managed to hit an ice pack when he saw a pickax blade break through dangerously close to his head.
“Found him! Sorry Boss! We’ll have you out in a few,” he heard Josh yell as the ax was replaced with hands and he found himself being dug out by the rest of his team.
He breathed a sigh of relief as the snow gave way to Josh and Lucky, staring down at him like idiots.
“Thought you were a goner,” Josh said as he started helping him haul himself out of his ice prison.
“Without sounding too- dense or maybe concussed— what happened?”
“You fell,” Lucky explained.
Evan snorted and shook his head. Lucky was the master of understatement.
Then he was breathing fresh air as Lucky inspected him for damage and Josh dusted him off and looked around the ravine that had been filled with snow and debris.
Fell, became, was felled by an avalanche, as he pieced things together. He sighed. They still had a mission to complete.
“It’s all uphill from here,” he sighed
Josh chuckled as they started up the side of the mountain. “In the snow.”
Not to be undone Lucky smiled, “barefoot.”
250 words – not inlucing title
#ThursThreads Week 505 is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope to catch you next week.