#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 534

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 534 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 534:

Scottish Word Slinger, Dauntless romance author, and #ThursThreads host, Siobhan Muir.

Facebook | Twitter | Patreon | Eden Books |

And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together. Because we had two winners last week, I’m giving you the choice of prompt. Use one or the other in your tale (no extra points for using both, though it will make me smile) and it’ll be valid.

The Prompts:

“You’re going to back out now?”

“I think we all have them.”

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!

17 Replies to “#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 534”

  1. The Hallowe’en Case

    I think we all have them. Those days we should have stayed in bed. Last year, a Sunday, and Hallowe’en to boot, I’d been doing a stretch of surveillance. No biggie. The usual ‘I think she’s cheating on me’ whimper from a guy who shouldn’t have married the woman in the first place, knew it but thought life was a basketful of second chances.

    I went back to the office about five to write up a few notes. Suddenly there’s a knock on the outer office door. Two goobers maybe twelve or thirteen standing there like street corner beggars. Wearing masks. Not Covid masks. One had a Nixon mask and the other…maybe it was JFK?

    Or Jackie?

    Anyways. Irritating presences, tiny political goober goblins who singing in harmony, “Trick or Treat, Mister?”

    Somewhere in the world, someone might think them cute.

    Clearly, I wasn’t in the mood.

    But it was a first. Even when I’m at home on Hallowe’en, I rarely answer the door.

    Now, here in my sacred workplace, I was being invaded.

    “Guys, you see any treats here? It’s an office. So scram.”

    I thought I was being polite.

    Nixon started to cry.

    JFK (or Jackie) put their mitt on Nixon’s shoulder and said, “I told ya. Some of them just don’t like us.”

    I was feeling shabby.

    “Look guys, let’s do this. You’re going to back out now. We’ll go down the stairs, find a store, get some treats…are we good?”

    Apparently, we were.

    250 words
    @billmelaterplea

  2. “Hey Corbin, good to hear from you. What’s going on?” Avery’s cheery voice soothed some of his concerns.

    “Not much. I wanted to give you an update on things here in California.” He took a deep breath. “I might have to stay longer.”

    Avery’s voice grew guarded. “How much longer?”

    “Honestly, I don’t know. My friend is dealing with a TBI and it’s affected his ability to move. The doctors think he’ll come out of it when the brain reconnects the proper neural pathways, but right now, he’s immobile.”

    “Yikes. I’m sorry to hear that. How long do you think it will take for him to get back on his feet, so-to-speak?”

    “Hard to say. He’s already showing signs that he’ll get movement back, but it just depends on his brain and body healing.” Corbin rubbed the back of his neck as he headed for the windows looking out on the California coastline. “Let’s give it a week and I’ll let you know. I have no idea why he listed me as his next of kin, but he wants me to be here. I think.”

    “We all have them doubts, yeah?” Avery sounded tired. “But you stick with it. I know you. You wouldn’t be there if you didn’t care, and I bet he’s more glad to have you around than he’s saying. Keep me updated on his progress and the likelihood of your return, yeah?”

    “Will do.”

    238 ineligible #StainlessSteelSEALs words
    @SiobhanMuir

  3. “What’s wrong with you, Georgianna?”
    “I can’t take it anymore, Calvin.”
    “You’re going to back out now?”
    “No, that’s not what I meant I’m not suicidal. I’m just having a bad day, no make that a bad year er bad years.’
    “I think we all have them.”
    “You’re just a platitude spiller, aren’t you?”
    “Tell me what’s bugging you.”
    “Let’s see there’s global pandemic they are denying; people refusing to wear masks, or get vaccinations and people are still dying from that disease and are all in denial.”
    “Georgie, we can do that right things and live our lives.”
    “Right, but I had a car accident, my car is totalled, my sister-in law is dying, my sister is dying, I’m broke, and the guy who hit me is suing saying I hit him; pick one!”
    “I hear you, but you can’t make this about you.”
    “I think I hate you.”
    “Life is grief, it’s a circle of highs and lows and we have to deal. We have to see the small things and take joy where we can, like me spending time with you having a coffee and talking.”
    “What am I missing, Calvin?”
    “I’m dying.”
    “Crap.”
    “I’ve decided to die my way, Enjoying every sunset, every sunset, every season, every moment. Anything that brings happiness, life is about moments and mine is joy.”
    “Where do you want to find joy today?”
    “Let’s walk in the rain and enjoy the wind blowing down the leaves.”
    “I love you, let’s.”
    249 Words
    @SweetSheil

  4. Meg, hands fished on her hips, faced the half circle of men. “You promised.”

    “No, lass. None of us did. We said we’d scout the situation to see if we could help. We did. There’s nothing we can do.”

    “There has to be!” She recognized the whine in her voice, didn’t care. “You promised to help but you’re going to back out now? Gosh, too bad no one around here has any balls.”

    “I think we all have them.” Humor glinted in Duke’s eyes, which surprised her. The leader of their little band of misfits seemed dour and taciturn. “And we’d like to keep them intact.”

    She muttered something under her breath the men chose to ignore.

    Kin touched her shoulder. “Lass, we can’t just go bustin’ in there, guns blazing. This isn’t a movie.”

    “But the people—”

    “Can take care of themselves,” Duke said, back to the stone-cold commander.

    Meg’s gaze bounced to each man and she had no trouble reading the implacable expressions on their faces.

    Cupping her cheek with a gentle touch, Kin urged her to look at him. “Our duty is to the children, lass. What would happen to them—to you should we get wounded or killed?”

    “Sorry, doll,” Dalton piped up. “We aren’t Marvel superheroes.”

    She knew that. All of it. And she knew Kin and Duke and the rest were right. There was nothing they could do. The people in that village were on their own.

    “Bloody goddamned war.”

    “Aye, lass, it is.”
    ****
    250 Hard Target: Crossfire WIP words
    @SilverJames_

  5. Wedding Day Blues

    “You’re going to back out now?”

    My stomach was doing somersaults.

    “Nerves. I think we all have them.”

    My best friend was standing there, trying not to look at his watch as his brother leaned to say something to him. He shook his head to that and held his hands up to the best man. I knew him so well and saw he was nervous, too. But there he was. For him, there was no turning back.

    Me? I was near the front door but word had not yet spread of my arrival. To the right, someone from the church stood half on the steps that led to the organ loft, waiting to sprint up with word that I was ready.

    Ready?

    No, I wasn’t ready.

    My father stood awkwardly off to the side, knowing that his saying anything was just the sort of patronizing that could send someone as tightly wound as me to burst.

    The bridesmaids stood off to the opposite side, their dresses never looking as hideous as they did in the dim light and they too were afraid to move.

    My maid of honor, my other best friend, stood behind me. She leaned in and whispered.

    “Forever, baby. You want to make a run for it, we make a run for it. Catch ourselves a bus wherever you want to go.

    “But we both know, you’ll always regret leaving. You’ll never regret walking down the aisle to him.”

    She was right. And I didn’t back out.

    Wedding Day Blues, by @JPGarlandAuthor, 250 Words.

  6. Lucy pried the lid from her coffee and blew on the hot liquid underneath. The rising steam swirled, vanishing as it cooled. She watched the steam for a moment and then turned her reddened eyes to me.

    “You’re going to back out now?”

    I couldn’t hold her gaze, choosing instead to focus on my hands wrapped around my own cup. “I’m not backing out. Not exactly.”

    “Not exactly.” Since we were in public, Lucy modulated her anger, but to anyone who knew her well, there was surgical steel in her voice. “What exactly would you call it?”

    “I don’t have a choice.”

    “Of course you have a goddamned choice!” Heads turned toward her now, toward me. I pretended I didn’t notice.

    But I did. I noticed everything. I had to. It was why I was here.

    “You know I don’t. Not really.”

    “I don’t care.” Her voice dopped to a whisper. “I want you here.”

    I reached for her hand, and thankfully she took it. I craved every one of the last seconds I’d get of her touch. “I know.”

    Lucy closed her eyes and took a ragged breath. When she opened them again, there was a different look than I’d expected. “Then I’m coming with you.”

    “You-you can’t!”

    “I can. You’re going because they need you. Tell me they couldn’t use me, too.”

    “I…but Lucy, you’d never be here again. Never see your family. Never…anything.”

    “They’re the past now. You – and where we’re going – is the future. Our future.”

    250 words
    @drmag00

  7. **Second Posting**

    Iliana shook her head. She wanted to find out what Brandon was thinking and feeling before they retried intimacy.

    Not that I’m adverse to some heavy petting.

    She snorted and removed her weapons belt and overcoat. It seemed strange to get undressed after spending weeks fully dressed all the time. She hadn’t bathed in a while and she probably smelled like horse and sweat.

    If you’re going to back out, now’s the time, before he comes back.

    She’d almost decided it was a stupid idea to even sleep with Brandon when he appeared at the door with a lantern and stepped inside. He closed the door behind him and the space suddenly felt too small. Nerves damn near got the better of her and she sat down on the bed, drawing her knees up to her chest.
    Brandon stowed the lantern on a hook for the purpose and sat beside her.

    “Are you all right?” He eyed her curiously as he worked on pulling off his boots.

    “Yeah. Yes. Mostly.” She shot him a rueful smile and he chuckled.

    “Yeah, I understand that. Things have been…” He waved his hand. “Difficult for a long time.”

    “Right. So, let’s talk about the night I left and go from there. Yeah?”

    He nodded. “Yeah, okay.” He leaned back against the wall and crossed his arms. “I watched you the whole way. I never looked away, and still, between one breath and the next, you were gone.”

    245 ineligible #IvoryRoad words
    @SiobhanMuir

  8. “You’re going to back out now?”

    Her brother’s judgment over the phone shot through Lupita’s sensitive ears. She blew a deep breath out her quivering nostrils and tried to sound casual.

    “Well, I have some reservations about coming home, sabes?”

    Jorge’s easy laugh over the line confirmed that he did not, in fact, know.

    “I think we all have them, manita.”

    It was Lupita’s turn to bark her coarser laugh.

    “Mr. Perfect is worried about going home for the holidays?”

    “No, I’m worried about my slacker little sister coming home for the holidays.”

    “There’s just, a lot going on right now.”

    “Are you okay?”

    “Ya, estoy bien.”

    Lupita mentally kicked herself for not making that sound more convincing.

    “You’ve been gone a year, manita. Everybody’s been worried about you.”

    “No, they were glad to see me go.”

    “That’s the thing,” Jorge worried. “Nobody saw you go. And it was around the same time as all those beast attacks; the authorities still don’t know what killed those people. I thought you might have been… sabes?”

    Lupita was glad this wasn’t a video call. Her forced smile would’ve freaked him out.

    “No, I just ran out of couches to crash on. Had to go somewhere nobody was sick of me yet.”

    Somewhere no one knew her.

    “Please come home, manita.”

    “I’ll think about it.”

    Lupita hung up and tossed the arm she’d clutched all through the call on the pile of bodies at her feet.

    She couldn’t stay here any longer either.

    250 PRUDENT words
    @DavidALudwig

  9. The Mirage-2000 hit the runway harder on its right side than he’d prepared for, the sound of metal finding against asphalt screeching into the rainy night. Even in that darkness, he could see bullets of rain flicker off the flame sizzling out from his belly.

    “Theta Lead, emergency stop! Crews are on the way!” Called the air controller in his ears, half panicked-half amazed he’d even landed at all.

    “Negative…” he replied, bracing a deep cough from his core, “Prep the spare jet, now!”

    “You’re going back out now?!”

    “Have to, fight’s still on…” Which was only half-true, and the unspoken part made his hands shake on the control yoke. “Someone has to avenge Theta Squadron…”

    “Negative, Maurice. Park that aircraft, or I’ll have the ground crew shoot the tires out!” Decreed the stern, motherly voice of the Base Commander. “Your fight is over, Maurice.”

    It was an order that caved his ribs into the bottomless pit that had replaced his heart. For just a moment, his hand hovered over the throttle, begging him to push to full power. “If I have anything left, then I would give it to the sky!”

    “But you would die for nothing, and no one would carry the banner of Theta Squadron again. Would you condemn them to be the last, along with yourself? Would you condemn their families to never know the truth of their deaths?” Countered the Commander.

  10. Tyler shot himself that night. He was alone in his apartment, it was dark, he was supposed to work the next day. That night, he got his handgun, loaded it, stuck the barrel under his chin, and pulled the trigger. He blew the top of his head off. He was dead before his body hit the floor.

    Cindy cut herself that night. Her husband and children were asleep. It was dark, and her heart ached. She thought about crying, but decided not to. She got a paring knife from her kitchen, and drew three straight lines on her left arm, deep enough to bleed, but not enough she’d need stitches or a trip to the Emergency Room. She watched them bleed, but made sure she bled over the sink, so she could wash all the traces away.

    Achmed took another pill that night. He was alone, on the beach at the oceanfront. It was dark. He’d had an awful day, his boss had chewed him out again for no reason, and two customers had called him a terrorist. He had to go back to that place in the morning. But right then, he wanted to escape everything for a little while. He took a pill, sat down on the sand, and hoped he’d wake up in time to get to work.

    Call them demons. Call them dark thoughts. Call them the devil. I don’t care what you call them. I think we all have them. Even the best of us.

    250 Words
    @mysoulstears

  11. The matted fur clung to her fingers. She worked the brush through, trying not to tug at the poor thing’s skin. He squirmed in her arms, whining.

    “It’s all right. You’ll feel better once all these knots are gone.”

    A particular bad spot on his bottom vexed her and right when she had it, he sat. His icy blue eyes gazed into her soul and quick-as-can-be his tongue darted out and slathered across her chin.

    “Argh. Dude.” She wiped away the dog kiss with the back of her hand. “You are not helping.”

    He lifted his right paw and swatted her hand.

    “You know I’m only trying to help you, right?” She scratched behind his ear, and he leaned into her palm.

    She’d found him in the restaurant’s alley, wandering where no one lived. Impossible for him to have escaped from a home. Someone dumped him. Sadness and anger warred. If you get an animal, you need to make sure to take care of it. No getting rid of them once a challenge comes up.

    “Come on, stand for me boy. Let me finish back here.”

    He needed a professional job. Someone to even out the fur and not leave mismatched clumps. Right now, though, they only had each other.

    Slurp. He snuck another lick, turned, and sheepishly looked over his shoulder.

    “Yeah, I love you, too.”

    She snipped the last chunk with scissors and smoothed her hand over his back. “There, I think we have all of them.”

    @LouisaBacio
    250 words

  12. Penny in the Air

    Cal looked from Aleksandr to Marja and back again, wanting someone to assure him and knowing the truth before he even asked. “This is the third time in as many days I heard someone mention my father, and I have to ask, he is dead, ain’t he?”

    “More or less,” Marja answered.

    “More dead, or less alive?”

    Aleksandr laughed. “You know as well as I do, dead doesn’t really mean the same thing to us as it does to others.”

    “I do have my doubts on the matter,” Cal admitted.

    “I think we all have them,” Marja answered as she backed away from Cal, standing apart from him and the others.

    “Don’t tell me you’re going to back out now,” he growled, splitting his attention between his two foes.

    “You know I wasn’t on your side when this began, you should have known I wouldn’t be on it now.”

    “And the Immortal Blade?”

    “It’s too powerful to trust to anyone,” she said.

    Cal let his breath out slowly, knowing the odds were not in his favor. He winced as he let the blade cut deep into his soul before Karl withdrew the blade and drew it across his palm.

    Then Jasper screamed as he grabbed the blade and tried to pull it away. Cal watched helplessly as Karl and Jasper fell and the sword vanished.

    This was the hardest part of three-card monte, the sale. Now he’d learn who’d been watching, and which would find the queen.

    248 words, not including Title
    @mishmhem

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