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 515 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 515:
College professor, equality enthusiast, and romance author, Louisa Bacio.
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And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
“You’re telling me this now?”
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!
12 Replies to “#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 515”
The first one showed up near Madrid. Lucia stared in amazement at the burbling spring of saltwater on her patio. She lived hundreds of miles from the ocean and the water table under her house was too deep for a well.
Lucia called the mayor’s office, her priest, and her brother at university in Boston. The first asked her why it was their problem, the second told her it was a miracle, and the third swore at her and said, “You’re telling me this now? It’s the middle of the night here.” Then he hung up.
The second was in Prague, the third in Tokyo, the fourth in Nairobi, and by the end of the week, the website tracking these things showed more than a hundred active saltwater springs, including three in Antarctica where the ambient temperature was -28 C.
Geologists were baffled. Politicians blamed whoever was in vogue to blame at the time. Instagram influencers raced each other to the newest sites to take vapid photographs.
At the end of the month, there were thousands, and the rate of flow was increasing seemingly hourly. Lucia’s village was flooded. Washington DC was turning from a figurative swamp back into a literal one.
They tried bulldozers. Explosives. Religious figures of every stripe gathered in prayer.
As with all things, the poor and weak started dying first, but the rich and powerful weren’t spared. The waters climbed and climbed until no land was seen.
And still the Earth cried on.
Before Kin could move, Meg placed both palms flat on his chest and shoved. Hard. “You’re telling me this now?”
She pushed past him, stomping toward the treeline. Then she stopped and marched back toward him, her eyes sparking, lips pressed in a thin line, fists clenched and leading the way. Again, he didn’t dodge as she landed a haymaker that cracked his jaw and rocked him back on his heels. He stood stock still, bemused at the strength of her assault. He was an adult alpha Wolf, a trained SAS soldier. And this little bit of a thing had truly socked it to him. He didn’t smile. He didn’t laugh. But it was a near thing. Discretion being the better part of valor, he kept his mouth shut, though he did rub at the sore spot on his jaw.
“We are in the frigging wilderness. With kids. And all your buddies. No wonder they’re walking around with shit-eating grins every time they look at me.” She blew out a breath so hard it ruffled her hair. Hands now fisted on her hips, she glowered. “Well?”
He debated speaking but he could no longer resist tweaking her temper. “Well what?”
She growled at him. A wonderfully feral growl. “You have no sense of propriety. I may not be sophisticated like my mother or cultured like my father, but by George I know when it’s a good time. This is so not a good time.”
“Doesn’t change things. You’re still mine.”
250 Hard Target: Crossfire WIP words
The Family Do-Overs
It wasn’t a case I wanted. Way too personal. Still, it was my mom. She’d called me first, asked how I was doing, the usual mother and son chitchat. A little unusual but what isn’t these days.
Finally, she asked to come and see me…at my office.
‘Mom, the neighborhood I work in, it’s a little…’ and I tried to summon up a word that described my environment and not be too vulgar…’besmirched. You sure you want to…?’
She had a smart reply. ‘Besmirched? You actually said that? Sonny boy, see you in an hour.’
So, I waited and in an hour she was there. We hugged and she sat down in my client’s chair. I only have one and usually I prefer it to be occupied by some snazzy skirt with jewels dripping off her and looking for the solace a private dick can offer.
Having my mother there was disconcerting.
“Let’s get right to it,” she said. “I think your fathers having an affair. I want proof. One way or the other.”
“You’re telling me this now,” I said. “Mom, you should have mentioned this on the phone. it’s a conflict of interest. I can’t investigate the old man.”
As I said it, all sorts of family minutia filtered in.
Visualizing a parent’s alleged infidelity can put you off your game.
“You want some other snoopy investigator sniffing your father’s…”
“Don’t say it,” I yelled. “Okay. Point taken.”
As I said, mom’s a pretty smart cookie.
“Who are you?”
“Roxanne Bailey, U.S. Army, retired.” She raised her gaze to the woman’s lips, which pulled into a scowl.
“Why would you help a gorgon? Aren’t you afraid I shall turn you to stone?” The question dripped with disdain and anger.
Roxanne shrugged. “That’s what I’ve been told, but it won’t stop me. Would you accept my help without turning me to stone?”
The gorgon barked a humorless laugh. “I couldn’t turn you to stone even if I wanted to. It only works on males. The point of the curse was to make us suffer without love, but none of the males who encouraged the curse believed women could love each other.”
Roxanne snorted with amusement. “That explains why my male companion repeated the story and warned me away.”
The gorgon scowled deeper. “Anything to show they are the victims.”
Roxanne grinned. “Oh honey, that’s the whole patriarchy in a sentence.” She cast around for rocks to use to prop up the fallen trunk. “I’m going to build up the rocks as a pivot point so I can pry the tree off you just enough for you to wiggle out. Think you can do that?”
The gorgon’s hair stopped hissing, though the snakes kept swaying as she nodded. “Yes, possibly. I don’t know why you’re telling me this.”
“Now that we’ve established the stories about you are mostly male-driven fear and hurt pride, there’s no need to wait. Hang tight while I grab the rocks.”
247 ineligible #Sirens words
“Professor McKinlay,” the CEO said, shaking his hand and pulling him close enough so he could smell the bourbon on his breath. “The senator and I both agreed on this last week. He offered to sign me a waiver there and then, but I assured him there’d be no need. And you’ve already proven to us that the technology works.”
McKinlay’s first thought had been, ‘You’re telling me this now,’ followed immediately by, ‘I’m going to disintegrate a potential presidential candidate.’ After that, he didn’t think hardly anything; the senator’s guardsmen and their loaded guns had caught his attention.
But senator Updike remained resolute. “I really don’t see there being a problem,” he said. “I just step into the first cabinet, then presto chango; I climb down from the second. You’ve already demonstrated the apparatus to us – I doubt the ape and I are notably different. It might be a little broader across the shoulders and longer in the arm, but I think if you gave its measurements to my tailor, he could still make it look presentable.”
“It’s not as easy as that.” McKinlay struggled to find a way to explain his dilemma without expressing his doubts. It was much easier when the hominid you were about to use didn’t have a name. Nobody would think twice about him disintegrating XJ32 – his handler included. But the man in the plaid suit, currently climbing into the particular atomiser, was most definitely not the same, whatever he might say.
250 words – twothirdzrasta.blogspot.com
“I’ve never been in the forest at night,” Rose sat on her crescent moon shaped boulder as it silently glided down the path the trees opened for it. “It will be fun to see what the night is like.”
She tried her best to be quiet, to not sing, to not talk to herself, or to the trees, or the stars, so she could hear the sounds of the forest. It was a stop and go journey. Every time she heard something, the boulder stopped moving, and Rose looked around, and tried to find what she’d heard.
There were lots of field mice roaming the floor of the forest, hidden under the brush. She saw an owl circling overhead, its eyes scanning the ground, looking for prey. She watched as it found a mouse, and dived, almost soundlessly, to capture it, then it flew off.
A couple of foxes came out of the woods, and looked at Rose and her boulder. They cautiously circled her, from a safe distance. Rose spoke to the wild magic, “Language,” and the magic responded and translated everything the foxes said to each other into words Rose could understand.
“What is that?”
“A fairy. A young one at that.”
“Don’t they sleep at night? In houses?”
“Yes. This is strange.” The fox on the left stood on its hind legs and twitched its ears. “Wild magic! She can hear us!”
The other fox screamed, “You’re telling me this now?” and raced back into the forest.
“The project has been called Mechaman,” Greg Gunnar explained the ninety-six-foot tall robot. “We’ll come up with something less cheesy when we reveal him.”
“The design is Greg’s, and he’s done most of the work right here. Tyler Enterprises just helped with some machining,” Brad Bass beamed proudly.
Their superior, Jian, nodded approvingly. Even the guests of honor, Jillian and Jacqueline, seemed impressed. Greg activated the ground controls with a flourish, standing angled so the others could see.
“I cannot wait to take him out for a test run!”
Brad agreed, “You’re telling me!”
Jillian hefted a huge coaxial cable. Apparently, she retained enhanced strength at human size.
“No! We only want enough power to run the diagnostic system—”
Greg’s warning came too late as Jillian connected the mechanical monolith to the main power. The engineer scrambled to input the kill codes. His partner pulled him clear of the robot’s smashing fist just in time.
“How do we shut it down?” Jian drew her namesake sword with absolute composure.
“In the cockpit! But first, we need to make sure the gauntlet weapon systems are offline!”
Greg and Brad scrambled to herd their guests away from Mechaman as the autopilot broke free of his moorings. The titan’s steel stomp shook the entire facility thunderously from Jian’s last location.
Mechaman lifted the foot again. The broken remains of steel flooring fell away from the unharmed superhero, hanging from her sword embedded in the giant’s sole.
248 PRUDENT words
“You know that I can’t swim, right?” Tower said. He took a few more steps before leaning against the wall, “and I ain’t fond of heights either.”
Jake looked at him and shook his head. “Really man?”
Jake took out a cigarette and lit it. “We drove all the way through Wisconsin, Michigan, and half of Ontario, and you’re telling me this now?”
He took a deep drag and shook his head, “Eleven hours man…eleven hours… and you decide now is the best time to tell me this. We’re halfway up a centuries old stairwell…in a lighthouse… on the shores of Lake Ontario.”
Tower took a long belt of whiskey from his flask. “I didn’t think we’d actually climb up. All the stories say Muller haunts the grounds.”
“What do we say about stories?” Jake, unable to hide his sarcasm, asked.
Tower recited the crew’s maxim, “Stories are for scholars and suckers.”
Jake smiled and continued climbing.
Tower knew that look. “Everyone figures the Hessies killed Muller in the house, so why are we way up here?”
“If you killed a man and needed to ditch the body where no one would find it…” Jake’s gaze fell on the outer door.
“You throw him off the top into the lake.” Tower nodded.
“Would explain the bones on the beach” Jake said.
“Would explain the bones,” Tower stopped, “You talked to them, didn’t you?”
Jake smiled, opened the door that had been welded shut, and stepped outside.
The call came in at 14:00.
“We have your wife”
The voice on the other end of the phone had been passed through an app to hide the caller’s identity, but Vlad was on comms, and his idea of fun was analyzing data.
By the time the caller had finished, we had his location, his voice print, and a pretty good idea of where he’d taken my wife.
I went through the checklist – no police, small bills, wait for a call. It was pretty standard stuff.
I didn’t call the police, I had people for that, besides, my wife was the police. We hit the warehouse and by 16:10 we were mopping up the kidnappers and my wife was staring at me, smirking.
“I told you it was a bad idea,” she told her boss while giving me an apologetic look.
She’s in no danger. We were targeting a kidnapping ring,” her boss growled at me.
“You’re telling me this now? You couldn’t have just taken a minute to loop me in?”
“We needed you to have a natural reaction, plausible deniability.”
I looked at the rescue team I’d assembled, my friends and family as they stared in disbelief.
“I think, you should have thought, what my natural reaction would be to someone taking a family member hostage. Not what you think a ‘normal’ reaction would be.”
“Yeah… I kinda see that now, sorry about that.”
“Not very plausible,” I sighed
“And not the least bit deniable,” my wife agreed.
@mishmhem – 250 words, not including title
#ThursThreads Week 515 is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope to catch you next week.