#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 531

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 531 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 531:

Classic Literature professor, left side driver, and erotic romance author, Lexi Post.

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.

The Prompt:

“How does it work again?”

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!

15 Replies to “#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 531”

  1. My fingers slid across the metal plate of gears and knobs. It looked nothing like the training pieces we’d had in school. “How does it work again, Master Calebra?” Thorough training, my blue butt.

    He waddle-scooted over on tiny skates affixed to a body not meant for this planet’s gravity. “Center gear, three clicks to the left. Start there and see what you can figure out. This is Steampunk 101, Strixny. If you can’t make the steam connect both units, you will return to school.”

    That was not happening. My kind, Zarlocxians, are not allowed to use magic. We aren’t supposed to look like anything but blue-skinned Terrans. Yeah, well, I’m not going back to the Academy of Terra. It’s not my fault the alien integration ruined their technology and we had to help them recreate from the ground up, all the way back to using steam power. It’s given their planet a chance at healing, at least.

    Whispering the words, magic leaks from my fingertips into the board, and I lean over, shielding it from my companions’ view. They have their own challenges to overcome in turning power on to the building. Let them waste their time.

    “Master! Strix is using magic!”

    I send an electric zap straight to Bayloo’s nervous system. They dropped into a puddle of silver goo. That should buy us a few hours of quiet as they rebuild their anatomy.

    “Strixny, don’t use magic on your peers. We’ve been over this.”

    “They deserved it.”

    249 words
    Twitter: miya_kressin

  2. Mid-Day is Murder When your Ass Was Dragging All-Night Long

    I’d pulled an all-nighter watching grass grow. Trust me, it grows slowly. My client was convinced that his daughter-in-law, Rose Mellow, was cheating on his son, her husband. As Junior was out of town at a conference of tile salesmen, the client wanted the house watched. “Fine,” I’d said, “but I’ll have to bring in some help. These days, I need lots of beauty sleep.”

    He bought that and I’d actually tried to sub-contract the night shift but since Covid, cheap help is hard to find.

    Once the sun had peeped up over the sub-division, I packed it in, went back to the office to write up a report, and have a shave.

    By noon, I was snoozing away. I didn’t hear her come in, but I could smell her. She’d dunked her body in something odoriferous, a perfumed field. She’d walked right up to my shaggy sleeping body and started to give me a shake…”Excuse me, are you all right?”

    I gave my frame a shimmy, pulled myself together, and told her, “Long night. Can I help you?”

    She got right down to it. “I think I have a stalker.”

    I nodded. “Think?”

    “It’s a feeling.”

    “So, you haven’t seen anyone?”

    “No. No.”

    I explained my fees and services and said, “Sure. I’m your guy.”

    “So,” she said, “How does it work again?”

    I explained it again and then asked her name.

    “Rose. Rose Mellow.”

    Ay Caramba, I thought.

    250 words

  3. I died again. How did this happen you ask? If I knew I would tell you. The only thing I know is that I don’t really die. How does it work again? I am born, through accident, illness or design I die.
    The only thing I’ve truly learned is the lengths people would go to live again. So many souls have begged me to help them remain; but I can’t help them I can only help myself live again.
    “How does it work again?”
    Scientists that claim when you die, 21 grams leave the body that is your soul, that soul is what I’ve been taking to other lives. You’d think that I wouldn’t remember any of the lives, but I do. In fact, I also remember the time before I entered their lives and yet these souls have abandoned the ship.
    So, here I am again, looking for a empty shell to take on a new life and I ask yet again why me? What is it I have to learn that my soul goes on and on? But the answer never comes.
    I enter the life of the newborn baby; I see the joy of the parents. I hear their thanksgiving prayers and I know why I was reborn. These are good people who have suffered greatly and wanted only one thing a living child. I will be the child they so desired. I will do good by them, for I know now this was always my destiny
    250 words

  4. Martin woke to find everything silent—the pain, the aches, the fear, and the world around him. It took him a few moments to realize what was different. He’d never felt a lack of pain his whole life, but especially for the time he’d been a SEAL—

    He blinked under the mask. He remembered being a SEAL. He remembered growing up in Alaska and wanting nothing more than to go into the Navy where he could be near the water and still serve his country. He remembered his squad—Retro, Magic, Deli, Strafe, Padfoot, Keys and Smoke—and the tight camaraderie they’d shared. But he couldn’t remember the last mission or how he got to be where he was.

    At least I remember something.

    Had the others gotten injured on the same mission?

    The probability is high.

    It was always high when it came to Navy SEALs – hell, when it came to all the SpecOps teams. But he couldn’t remember that. He groaned and shifted in the bed, frustrated with his mind.

    How does it work again after an injury like this?

    Another sound intruded into his new-found awareness, and he froze. What the hell was that? Fear crawled up his spine. Someone was near him and he was laid up in the damn bed, immobilized, blind, and injured. He tensed for evasive action when a soft voice penetrated the panic building in his mind.

    “It’s Corbin, Martin. You’re safe. Do you want me to take off the sleeping mask?”

    249 ineligible #StainlessSteelSEALs words

  5. Autumn in New York. Someone should write a song about it.

    The trees had yet to turn, but the hot temperatures that extended deep into September were finally behind us. And now—now being a Sunday afternoon in October—the Park was flooded with people, though by staying towards the northern end we avoided the touristas who’d arrived in the post-Covid—well maybe post-Covid—world.

    We were both more tired than we expected when we got back and she hopped into the shower straight away while I started assembling things for dinner, it being my task for Sunday nights. It’s a nice shower; it’d better be, given how high our rent was.

    Anyway, I had the radio on in the kitchen when she poked her head around the corner.

    “It’s all yours,” she said.

    I was pretty well done with my prep, and I told her I’d be just a minute, and in five I was in the shower myself, feeling the pulsing water and flowing into it. I could have stayed there forever, but I needed to get back to my Bolognese.

    I went into the bedroom to get dressed, just in a towel, and she surprised me by being in the bed, beneath the sheet. She pulled the sheet up and over herself.

    “How does it work again?” she asked as she patted the mattress.

    How does it work again, by Joseph P. Garland, @JPGarlandAuthor, 227 words

  6. “I didn’t tell Peter. It’s too dangerous. If they find out, they will ruin his career.”

    “But Kaya, he’s the father.”

    “I know he loves me Mom, but I can’t put him through that. I won’t let this mistake destroy two lives.”

    “We’re going to get through this…trust me! I know someone who will take you across the red zone, to a doula in New York City.”

    “But I thought a doula was someone who helps you HAVE a baby. Can she get the medicine? How does it work again?”

    “This doula will support you through the procedure safely, once and for all. But first, we have to get you there.”

    Kaya met Jack Dunster at Love’s Truckstop outside of El Paso and had been hiding in the sleeper compartment, behind the cab of his truck for two days. Jack, a long-haul trucker, was married to a nurse who was part of an underground network helping women in the red zones seek medical care. Going west had not an option for Kaya because violent vigilantes roamed the roads of Arizona, Utah, and Idaho, making any trek westward far too perilous.

    Kaya awoke to the sensation they weren’t going north anymore. Then she heard Jack’s voice on her earbuds.

    “Kaya, you doin okay?

    “Yep. Where are we?

    “We need to go dark now. We will be in Indiana and Ohio for about ten hours. When we can turn on the intercom again, we’ll be in Buffalo. Next stop, New York City.”

    word count:250
    @taforu on twitter

  7. “You don’t want me there, and I don’t want you there.” Hunter Lee admitted. “But you don’t want to go alone, and I couldn’t get there without you.”

    The purple-clad mermaid arched a judgmental eyebrow.

    “We’re really doing this again? It’s probably a suicide run anyway. And you already made Schooner’s suit.”

    Hunter’s West Sea crocodile snorted under his rider. The massive reptile was outfitted in a maroon bodysuit similar to the mermaid’s purple one.

    Mererid signed something. Hunter had gotten used to assuming her signs were offensive in nature.

    “Why’d you make Schooner’s suit if you didn’t want us to come along?”

    The mermaid sighed. It was odd to see, but her black eyes almost looked human when she relaxed. Still, this alliance was only to minimize the risk of death while searching for their mutual romantic interest. If they found her, it would be back to war.

    “Alright!” Hunter broke the quiet and ran a hand over Schooner’s forward shoulder to the fabric connecting his foreleg to his hind leg. “How does it work again?”

    That sign Hunter was learning to recognize. Definitely an insult.

    Mererid pointed to the mist blanketing the southern horizon. Somewhere in there, the ocean ended. Then she moved her hand at an upward angle with increasing speed and rose from the water to spread her arms. The fabric connecting her arms to her tail looked like wings.

    Hunter patted Schooner’s back firmly.

    “You get all that, mate?”

    The giant crocodile rumbled uneasily.

    249 Cat’s The Pajamas words

  8. Everybody always told me, “You have to get it out, into the open, so you can deal with it. So you can heal.”

    When I stopped laughing, I turned the volume up on my computer’s sound system. I was flirting with having it too loud, loud enough to wake her. That wouldn’t be good, but it was a risk I took anyway.

    “Get it out in the open. How does it work again? Let’s find out.”

    I listened to the music. Then lowered my head, and rested it on my arms, on my desk, and let the rage burn inside my soul, as I thanked God above that I didn’t have the ability to do what I wanted.

    In my mind, in that rage, I took my neighbor’s big damn pickup truck, and drove, like a man possessed. I didn’t know where I was going, and I didn’t care. Nothing mattered, except the rage, and giving it a voice. Striking back at that which had wounded me to the core.

    The truck stopped moving, and through the rage, in that dream, I found myself staring at the front doors of the church I went to in high school. The church where I got told there was something wrong with me. Something different. The church that wrecked me. That judged me. That found me in need of fixing.

    I let the rage run free, floored the gas pedal on that truck, and collided with the front doors of that church.

    249 Words

  9. She banged the button again, striking it with her fist. The panel on the Xchange-O-Matic was armoured to withstand abuse. She could use a fourteen-pound sledgehammer on it and still not damage its fascia or controls. All she had was the contents of her room; the soft pillow and the water jug beside her bed wouldn’t even scratch its paint.

    “How does it work again? Tell me what I’m doing wrong.”

    Gabriel shook his head. “You should have paid attention to me earlier. You’ve only a limited number of reincarnations. Seven’s the limit we give everyone but the special cases.”

    Edith glowered at him. She hadn’t been listening at first. She’d skipped through options one to three in as many seconds. She didn’t want to be a woman or a member of an ethnic minority. And speaking in a foreign language was a non-starter. And who’d have thought you could be embodied into something used. It didn’t follow any of the rules they’d been told.

    “But I’m old,” she said, looking in her mirror. “This body hardly works – I don’t think I could give myself physical pleasure, let alone attract a man.”

    Gabriel smiled beatifically. He was an expert at handling awkward re-embodiments. There was a set of cheats to override the restriction – cheats that automatically condemned the user to purgatory.

    “There is a way,” he said. “It’s something we usually only offer to cats. If you’re not too fussy, I can get you a couple more trials.”

    250 words ~ twothirdzrasta.blogspot.com

  10. Meg rubbed her temples. “What’s wrong with this picture?”

    “You don’t believe me.” Kin spoke emphatically and managed to keep his voice steady. He knew this wouldn’t be easy.

    She folded her arms over her chest, giving him a narrow-eyed glare. “This really is silly.”

    All right. So he hadn’t been particularly subtle. And true, his claim might be a bit beyond any sort of credulity, but he had spoken the truth. And now it was time to get serious. He would not woo her or seduce her into his bed until she knew the truth of him. “This is not a joke, lass.”

    “That’s good, because I’m not laughing. Are you seriously telling me that you are a werewolf?”

    “No, I’m telling you that I am a wolf shifter. Werewolves only exist in the minds of writers and movie makers.”

    “Still not buying what you’re selling.”

    He reached over his head, grabbed his shirt and stripped it off. Kicking off his books, he went for his belt buckle and fly next.

    She backed up a few steps. “What are doing?”

    “Show and tell, love.”

    Meg let out a startled gasp as he stripped down and then she covered her mouth and backed into a corner as his body twisted, bones crunched, skin sported thick fur, and a wolf emerged.

    “Holy shit.” Moments later, a naked Kin once more stood before her. “How does it work again?” she whispered.

    “I claim you as my mate. Because you are, Meg.”
    249 barely-squeaked in before it closes Crossfire WIP words (I forgot it was Thursday! Yikes!!!)

  11. Training new Deathers is not easy; they’re not here because they want to be, and it shows in their work. My luck being what it is, I got one who’s determined to take over.

    “How does it work again?” the perky brunette with the green eyes asks. Her black robes are loose on her short frame.

    “Well, we get our lists on our tablets and then–”

    “Being The One True Death.”

    I roll my eyes, letting out an exasperated sigh. Our horses give each other the side eye, probably sensing what’s coming.

    “Listen, Matilda–”

    “Maddie, please.”

    “You made a deal with Death. Death will pay off your debt to the IRS and keep you out of prison. At no time is that an invitation to take over.”

    For a moment, my temper flashes, and a lightning bolt barely misses her. Another Deather catches it and glares at me. Matilda draws one robed arm over her head. A few deep breaths later, I face her.

    “You’re a Deather. Your job is to bring people to their afterlife. You are not now, nor will you ever be, in the running for the top spot. Adrianna is in that role until she reaches the age of 200; she’s forty-four. If you didn’t want to do this, you should’ve said no.”

    With that, we’re off. Maybe I forgot to tell her the horses fly. If the retching sounds behind me are any indication, she won’t survive being a Deather long enough to take over.

    250 words

  12. She snuggled up to me, the glowing rectangle in her hand the only light on this overcast and moonless night. It still made her eyes sparkle as if there were a million stars beaming down upon us. I put an arm around her and held her close. Not only was it dark, but the October chill had come, and her warmth protected me from it, at least on one side.

    She kept poking at the thing I’d originally thought of as a phone, and numbers and symbols danced before my eyes. I understood very little of it, but whatever it said, it was making her happy, and that was all I needed.

    “There,” she said, and with one last tap the screen flashed and a countdown started. Five minutes. I didn’t know if that was a long time or a short time for this kind of thing.

    “How does it work again?” I’d asked once before, and she’d just kissed me until I forgot why I’d ever been curious.

    She kissed me again, but this time I pushed her away. “Please?”

    “I would tell you if I could. I really would. But I promised I would be the only one on Earth who understood this thing.” She kissed me again, but quickly. “And does it really matter how? You and I will be together. Isn’t that enough?”

    This time, I kissed her. The timer was somehow down to thirty seconds. She was right. It was enough.

    246 words

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