Welcome back to the home of Paranormal & Dauntless Romance. Wow. Year 10. A whole decade. I’m astounded.
Today is Thursday and that means it’s time to start flashing, like we have for 10 whole years. It’s amazing we’ve gone this long! This is Week 523 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 523:
Gamer, crazy cat lady and novice artist, Nellie Batz.
And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
“All things considered.”
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 523”
We weren’t speaking. Just listening to “All Things Considered” as we normally did while we drove to the cabin on Friday nights. In fact, I don’t know that we’d said a word to each other after she asked “Ready?” from the driver’s seat and I nodded, “Let’s get this over with.”
She looked harsh at me when I said this but held her tongue as she pulled from the curb. The traffic was heavy early on, even though it was very cold, but it broke up as always once we were past the bridge.
She normally asked me to take over the driving when we were about an hour north, but still she said nothing. Her hands were tight on the steering wheel. There was enough light to see that.
When the program was over, neither of us dared change the radio to music, afraid it would…I don’t know what.
The trail to the cabin was plowed, and we bounced left and right as she drove down to it. We circled in front of our place and stopped in front of the door. She turned the car off and the radio went with it. Complete silence with some moisture accumulating on the windows.
“It had to be done,” she said finally.
“I know. I know.”
We each opened our doors, and I pulled the keys to the cabin from my pocket and we hurried inside to the cold house.
Joseph P. Garland, @JPGarlandAuthor, 239 Words
He didn’t look like Anubis. There was nothing doglike or divine about him at all, save the long face and the aquiline nose. He dressed like a too-modern adaptation of some Dickensian fable. Yet here he was, weighing the tokens of Louis’ life.
The watch he’d gotten as a graduation gift. His phone (and, presumably, its contents). The dinosaur maquette Melinda had made for him, the one he’d thrown out the window and shattered after their breakup.
“I thought you were supposed to weigh hearts,” Louis said as he sat in the metal folding chair across the table from where the judge sorted calmly through the reassembled effluvia of his life. His journal from high school. The porno magazines he’d hidden under his bed as a teen. A small pile of candy bars he’d stolen from the market across from his house.
The judge looked down his nose at a toy car — the one he’d swindled his little brother out of because he’d wanted it for himself. “That’s exactly what I’m doing,” he said in a slightly nasal tone. “We don’t physically tear out hearts, Louis, we’re not barbarians.”
Louis swallowed hard as the judge began sorting through a stack of college papers. “How am I doing so far?”
“I’d say fairly well, all things considered…” the judge trailed off as he pulled something from beneath the papers. A folding knife, blade rusty with old blood.
“Louis,” the judge said, holding up the knife. “Let’s have a conversation.”
248 words / @mxdshipwreck
Breakfast at Louie’s
I don’t take vacations. Sometimes I put my feet up and sit around like a bump on a log. That usually does the trick.
Being a mid to lower-level private dick, I’m always hustling clientele.
Gotta be ready when they are.
With one caveat. Don’t interrupt me when I’m having my breakfast at Louie’s Café.
My motto: ‘let me eat my scrambled egg potato hash in peace’.
All things considered, I should wear a sign saying precisely that. How are the hoi polloi supposed to know?
Short answer, they’re not.
That’s how I ended up splitting my meal with Jade. Louie’d brought an extra plate, scrapped half the hash onto it, said, “Jade here needs your help. And she’s hungry.”
With that, Jade plunked down opposite me in my booth and dug right in.
I’m still speechless at this point. Suddenly, I have half my scarf given away to a woman who clearly has seen a few trips around the sun, quite possibly many of them while sleeping outdoors.
She looks up from hoovering what was once my food, smiles, says, “Damn good.”
I say, “Yeah, I know.” Then I add, “What can I do you for?”
She needs friendly muscle to retrieve her cart from Banker Haynes. I know Haynes. Hates the homeless. Hires flunkies to scoop their possessions if they park anywhere near the bank.
“Happy to help,” I tell Jade, “after I finish eating.”
“Take your time,” she smiles.
“Always do, “ I say.
“I’ll do better next time.”
She looked at Brandon solemnly. “I think you believe that. I think you might try to change yourself. But I don’t think you’ll change if I stay here tonight. I’m pretty sure you’ll believe the matter settled and nothing will be different.” He opened his mouth to protest but she held up a hand. “No, you need time alone to think about this. It’s important to me that I have backup, that someone sees me as a full person, not just a pair of breasts and a pussy. I need someone in my life who has my back, who stands up for me when others tell stories, and who doesn’t doubt me when I bring up problems. You’re just not there yet, Brandon.”
Shaking her head, Iliana opened the suite door. “I’ll see you in the morning. Get some sleep. I’m sure tomorrow will be a trying day. Or it won’t. Either way, you need your rest. Good night.”
“Please, Iliana, stay.”
“No.” She shook her head and strode away from him down the hallway.
Her heart ached like someone had stabbed her. Hell, it felt worse than Ahmad’s strike against her side. She took a deep breath to keep the tears from gathering in her eyes and spilling over. Tears might be her release valve, but everyone else would see them as weakness and ‘womanly emotion.’ All things considered, even the tears probably wouldn’t be enough.
Misogyny and sexism suck.
247 ineligible #IvoryRoad words
The roar of the beasts and men was overwhelmed. A rolling thunder of voices as they screamed and waved their weapons around in the air. As if the mass of bodies wasn’t intimidating enough.
“Well, at least they showed up.”
Jane shot a glance over her shoulder at the satyr behind her, wearing his own mix of metal and leather armor. Even his horns had spiked metal caps. He met her gaze before shrugging. “All things considered. They could have ignored the mass of fomori that were about to tramp on their land.” He peered. “It will be interesting to see if any of the Queens take the field.”
“That’s what I’m for.”
“Oh yeah…” He grimaced before looking at the abominations that were rolling onto the field, screeching in response to the soldiers. “Sorry?”
She gave a snort before picking up to two handed sword that was resting against the tree next to her, the metal glowing with a blue white radiance. She pulled down the front of her helm. “It’s what I’m used to.”
176 judge words
The soldiers stood on one side of the barn, the children and their caretaker on the other. The boy standing between the groups that presented the biggest threat. He held a bottle with cloth stuffed in the neck, frantically clicking an old Zippo lighter attempting to light the impromptu Molotov cocktail.
Megan stood in front of him. “Put it down, Maxim.” She spoke English. He answered in rapid-fire Ukrainian.
Petro spoke then, his voice calm but commanding, ordering the boy to surrender.
“They aren’t Russian, Max.” Megan put a lot of promise into her voice.
“How do you know this?” he asked in halting English.
“Look at their uniforms. Their weapons. Listen to their voices.” She glanced over her shoulder to the man in charge. “Say something. Please?”
Duke stepped forward. “My name is Duke Reagan. We here at the request of NATO to rescue Ms. Muir.” There was no mistaking his American drawl. “Give me the bottle, son. We aren’t here to hurt you.”
He came up beside Meg and took the bottle from the boy with no struggle. The kid looked at Meg, his eyes haunted and Duke’s gut twisted. He had no clue what was going on here and he needed to fined out ASAP.
“What about us?” Max asked. “Will you leave us behind?”
Duke surveyed the kids then laid a reassuring hand on Max’s shoulder. “No. We’ll get you to safety.” He glanced back at the team. “All things considered, we don’t have a choice.”
250 Hard Target: Crossfire WIP words
All things considered, it was an excellent idea. Many people would have accepted her offer in a heartbeat. But there was something about it that just didn’t ring true. It was too convenient, and the presence of the Borg here was far too much of a coincidence.
Hosta thumbed the switch on the comms unit. The received images from the Borg sphere had been uninterrupted; it was his outgoing channel that had been blank while he’d been thinking.
“We’re back again,” he said. “You’ll have to forgive me for being suspicious, but your history of reneging on promises is hardly spotless. What guarantees can you give that you won’t assimilate my crew first and not remove your implants when we’re clear of the ionic storm? We wouldn’t be in a position where we could bargain. We’d be putting our trust in your sense of honour, and that’s a quality alien to the hive mind.”
The Borg Queen’s expression was impassive. She’d been a native of the Navidae home-world before being assimilated, her body initially being better equipped for life underwater than captaining an intergalactic craft. But that spoke more of his prejudices than anything; neither of them had been born to survive in space.
“You can choose to die if you’d prefer that,” she replied, the universal translator converting the high-pitched squeal that her species used to communicate. “The ionic wind will strip the potential from the neurons of your brains and leave what remains less sentient than a jellyfish.”
250 words – twothirdzrasta.blogspot.com
“All things considered, I’m glad you’re okay,” my boyfriend said, “It’s not that I don’t believe you; but you know those are considered cryptics.”
“I saw them!!”
“Tell me again.”
“Walking through the forest, just enjoying the day; I’d spotted some wild berries. I was going to pick some when he (at least I think it was a he) stepped out of a clearing. I was frightened. I had heard tales of these creatures and how dangerous they were, so, I hid behind some brambles and tried to blend in. She then joined him making noises like a bear or something. Her lips turned up at him and her eyes batted back and forth. He then took her arms and pulled her to him and they lay down on the forest floor and coupled. I took that moment to flee quietly back into the forest and then I ran home.
“Take me there Sassa. let me see them,”Aikito begged.
I picked up some branches for defense and so did Aikito. We then arrived where I had seen the couple. Aikito looked and said “They’ve gone this way.”
Soon they were directly in front of us. We tried to remain quiet, but they spotted us and the male yelled, ”Oh my God run, Susanna, it’s a pair of Bigfoot.”
They ran very fast and we declined to keep up with them. Both Aikito and I had seen the Skinwalkers, we’d have much to talk about around the fire with the elders.
Dani surfaced from a deep dream with Jenny shaking her shoulder. “I hear something.”
Screech. Scratch. Dark whispers cut through the room.
They’d been watching Shark Week and must have fallen asleep. It wasn’t often her teenager cuddled with her these days.
“All things considered,” she glanced toward the bedroom’s doorway and the shadowed hallway beyond, “I think we make a run for it.”
“You’re kidding, right?” Jenny pulled her knees into her chest and wrapped her arms around them. “I’m not getting off this bed. You go first.”
The Jaws theme played in her head. Dun dun. Dun dun. Here goes nothing.
Dani swung her feet over the side of the mattress and pushed off, landing about a foot away. Hopefully, it would give her the needed head start.
A ginger fury flashed from under the ruffled bed skirt, sharp claws targeting the tender flesh of her feet and ankles.
She danced, hopping from one foot to the next until she reached the wall and pounded on the light. With the distraction plan in full mode, Jenny launched herself off the bed, giggling as she passed unscathed into the hallway.
“Night Mom. Love you.” She waved on the way to her room. “Good luck!”
“Tiger!” Dani clicked her tongue. “Here kitty, kitty, kitty.”
She grabbed a feather toy from the overflowing box on the floor and waggled the lure. A fluffy tangerine puff with blue eyes crawled from under the bed. Such a monster.
Pamela “Pigita” Armstrong hunched dourly over her third Budweiser. The adjacent barstools had vacated to some distance, but the bartender was getting comfortable with keeping the beer coming.
“Two superheroes in one day!” Pigita sloppily slurped her beer. “You’d think that’d at least add up to one decent fight, but nooooo!”
“Que?” A ponytailed Latina in a black leather jacket stood from a back booth. “You’re that crazy bitch that ripped up downtown?”
Pigita looked sardonically over her shoulder.
“What if I am?”
The Latina pushed a hard-knuckled fist into her other palm.
“You hurt a lot of people and made a big mess. If you wanted a fight, let’s take this outside right now.”
“You sayin’ you could give me a fight?”
Pigita shrugged and followed her scrappy adversary to the parking lot, along with curious patrons. Both women laid their leather jackets over the rail. Pigita swapped her cowboy hat for her pig ear headband. Interestingly, her opponent took her boots off, the same as Pigita.
The first hard-knuckle punch stung like hell! It wasn’t the hardest Pigita had ever been hit, but for some reason, her beast didn’t stop any of it.
“Silver knuckles? Why do you even have those?”
“Special for you, Chica!”
Pigita let her beast out. Turns out, the Latina had one too, and this time wolf beat pig.
Flat on her back and thoroughly pummeled, Pigita stared at the stars. This day hadn’t been so bad, all things considered.
248 PRUDENT words
Somewhere in Moorish Spain, 4190 CE
“All things considered it’s really not that bad” Jocaphat said, “It could have been much worse.”
Despite all that we had been through together, I stared at the little monk like he’d been the one to grow a third eye.
“Not… that… bad…” I stammered, “I have wings and my left hand has,” I held up the blade like protrusions where my fingers had been, “talons.”
Josaphat shook his head, “Halcón, at least it’s not horns and a tail.”
He had been my confidant, confessor and cargador as we searched for the Golden Chalice of Casa de Fieras.
“Plus, you’re standing, and breathing on your own.” He pulled my wheelchair around so that I could see my oxygen mask dangling from the side.
“Ten minutes ago, you said you’d give anything to do either again.”
I tested out my legs and my lungs, and they worked better than they had before the accident. “You’re right, this is better.”
“Halcón…it’s a miracle, one I should be reporting to the Prefect and the Emir, his voice trailed off.
“If they had not specifically forbidden you from helping me, from looking for the Chalice.” I answered.
This little monk had risked everything he had, and the only home he’d ever known, to help me.
“Thank you Chacal.” I whispered as I embraced him.
“Halcón, you saved my life. I couldn’t sit back and watch you die.”
It was a real mess, all things considered. Each of the latches had been ripped apart, the door to each hutch pulled open. The rabbits were missing with the exception of Tibbles, who sat in the corner of his cage, nibbling from his bowl of carrots and basil. Even though it was now almost entirely absenteeist in nature, it smelt of death in that enclosure. The CCTV footage showed without question the arrival of the van, and the crepuscular presence of the men, their assault on the hutches, and their snatching of the rabbits. Twenty-nine in total. How Tibbles escaped the kidnapping, I would likely never determine. I knew these men to enjoy and participate in the local dogfights.
As I continued to take photos and record video of the scene, which I expected to tweet later – along with clear high definition video captures of the faces of the cruel, nasty, animal-hating criminals – I heard a twig snap behind me. The five swarthy, drug-addled men emerged from behind the bushes. Men of a different culture to mine. A culture no less worthy, but the thought struck me then what harm a few bad apples could do.
“You want your bunnies back?” the ringleader asked me. He smiled. One of his two front teeth was plated in gold.
“You’re in trouble. If you don’t return them immediately, I mean.”
“Did you call the cops?” the man asked. “Because we saw the cameras. And we’ve returned for the footage.”
247 words @ragtaggiggagon
“Dad. She’s gone, alright. She’s been gone for months.”
I dropped the dish I was washing at the time, and watched it fall to the sink, where it shattered, and left shards of glass everywhere, “I know! You don’t think I know? I know!”
Every minute of every day I knew she was gone. I didn’t even sleep in our bed anymore. I slept on a cot I parked next to the bed. My son didn’t know that. Like he didn’t know I didn’t use the bathroom off the master bedroom. I used the hallway bathroom.
Because she was gone. And I couldn’t be in those places anymore.
He stood there, staring at me, as I started to dig glass shards out of the sink. “You need to move on!”
“No!” I turned the water off, and let everything fall back into the sink. “No!” I turned to face him. “You don’t understand.”
Just like that I had to hold on to the counter to keep from sinking to my knees. Just like that it was everything I could do to keep from shattering like that dish had.
“She was all I had.” He’d made me stop. Made me think. “I know she’s gone. But she’s the only reason I had for staying here, in this world. She was the reason I didn’t…” I couldn’t finish that sentence.
He stood there, silent. After a bit, I recovered, “All things considered, I think I can pretend she’s still here.”
Julia huffed as she stood, brushing dirt off of her lap. As she was taking in all of her hard work, her vision went black and she felt a pair of hands cover her eyes. She heard a voice call out, “Guess who!”
Julia giggled as she pulled her husband’s hands off her eyes. Together they admired her effort.
“Y’know these tulips are gonna be all anyone will talk about,” Julia said, “You think this’ll be the year we finally reveal our secret?”
Her husband laughed, “Mrs. Williamson will certainly be intrigued to find out your secret fertilizer.”
Suddenly, Julia saw it. The hand sticking out of her tulips. “Oh my god!” she exclaimed, “I almost missed a spot!”
She quickly grabbed her trowel, dug around the hand, pushed it further into the earth, and covered it up with soil.
Her husband chuckled, “That was a close one! Don’t want your ‘secret fertilizer’ to get out.” Julia rolled her eyes, her husband continued, “Honestly? This garden turned out great, all things considered.”
Julia chuckled, “Yeah. I guess it did.”
Word Count: 179
Interview With a Monster
“I don’t see myself as a monster, mais ya, I’m going to say that- ever’body sees what they want.”
I nodded and placed a recorder between us.
“All things considered, you have me at a disadvantage,” he added taking his seat.
“You don’t have to answer anything that makes you uncomfortable,” I assured him.
“No, you caught me fair and square, and I promised you the truth.”
I let him choose his words. If there was one thing I learned in interviews was that you got more if you let the subject tell their story. Besides, I had no idea how to start, ‘How long have you been a monster?’ was too direct.
“Where do I begin?”
“Where do you want to begin?”
He paused, doing the math in his head. “Les’see. It’s 2022 now, let’s start with 1972. Fifty years should be good. “Watergate, Nixon, Agnes. Corruption, devastating storms— Maybe there is something to history repeating itself.”
“Is that when you changed?”
“Gads no. That’s the secret – nothing changes. We are who; what we are – the thing that changes is perception.”
“People see what they want to see, dat means, best place to hide is in plain sight.”
“Hell, Cher, ain’t nobody believe dey exist and ain’t nobody want to rock dat’ boat. Not now, not ever.”
I reached across the table and turned off the recorder. He was right. I had the truth, but nobody would believe me.
He winked and bought me a drink instead.
250 Words (not including title)
Whiskey with a Ghost
Maybe your dead can’t talk, but in my experience, they never shut up. Sometimes the brown liquid muffled their voices. On nights like tonight, though, I just got pissed.
“You know that I loved you and did my best. Life was hard and we did what we could do, all things considered.”
I took another sip and paused before speaking. Yelling was a game both of them taught me, but I was trying to do better.
“Did you though? Did you ever think about what I was learning from you?”
“I tried to teach you so many things.”
“Yes. I know you did. By constantly questioning everything I did, you taught me not to trust myself.
“By finding fault in everything,” my voice caught, and I took another sip. “You taught me that I was never going to be good enough. Did you ever notice how hard the world was for me?”
“I know school was rough. Those kids were so mean to you.”
“Uh-huh. And when I got home, did you let me know I’d always be good enough in your eyes, no matter what the bullies said? Did you make home a place where I knew I could be me and that I’d be okay?”
“We loved you!”
“But did you ever like me?” I drained my glass and poured another.
“You know you shouldn’t drink that stuff.”
“And you should have realized that your problems weren’t my problems. Go away, mom. Or at least shut up.”
#ThursThreads Week 523 is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope to catch you next week. 🙂