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 540 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 540:
Coffee addicted ruler of the world inside her head… mostly. Creator of fantasy and romance sandwiches, Audra Trosper.
And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
“I’m on my way.”
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!
13 Replies to “#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 540”
The Road Back part 6
It was ten days before the big one. Christmas. Dick’s Joint had never celebrated the holiday before. There was a lot going on. Maybe too much.
Christmas can be like that.
A convergence of confusion.
Charlie Angel’s ex, Lorna, had, in a week, become a fixture.
He had a little apartment down the street from the restaurant. Above Henry Wall’s Insurance office. Barely enough room for one ex-con/chef/detective in training.
It would set the tone.
“You sure you want to put her up, Charlie?” I’d asked.
“No,” he’d answered, “But I owe her something.”
“There’s debt and then there’s an albatross,” I suggested.
“This albatross ain’t flying any time soon,” he’d rebutted, looking a tad hang-dog. “Lorne cared for me for a couple of years. More like a mother with benefits than a…girl friend. I guess I owe her“
So that was settled.
Then I had a case up country.
“I’m on my way up to River’s Bend,” I’d told Charlie. “You’re in charge.”
“You sure? This is new ground. And I’m still trying to sort out Lorna.”
“Put her to work. Can she cook?”
“We better not go there. I’ll do the cooking. She’s done some waitressing And she’s easy on the eye. Leastways, I think so. “
“I’ll be back before Christmas. This job shouldn’t take more than four, maybe five days.”
With that, I left my two enterprises in the hands of a confused employee and his bird.
My iPad had chimed, telling me I had a message. Very few people knew how to reach me on my iPad, and I talked with those few people frequently. I grabbed the iPad, and checked. It was a message from my cousin.
“He didn’t make it this time.”
He was an older cousin. One I had not even seen in 45 years. One I’d recently started to call on the phone. Not so much to renew the contact as to do what I could to help him through his own grief. His wife had died a couple of months earlier. The only person he had left was his daughter.
I sent a message back, “Sorry to hear that. But we knew it was coming.”
My cousin responded, “Yes, we did.”
There was a pause. Then she continued, “You said if I needed your help, to just ask. Well. They’re making plans for the funeral. And for his house. I’ll have to help with that.”
What else was there to say? “I’m on my way.”
I’d talked with my wife, made a hotel reservation in Atlanta, packed my one suitcase, got in my car, and started south. It was a 1600 mile drive. I couldn’t do that in one day. I couldn’t afford a plane ticket either. No planes flew to the middle of nowhere in Mississippi anyway, and I’d have needed a rental car.
I had to drive down.
“I’m on my way.” What else could I have said?
Lochlan O’Toole was not a sentimental man. Loyal, yes. Responsible, certainly. A trained soldier, absolutely. He believed in brotherhood—and that included sisters-in-arms. He was the one who always answered “I’m on my way” whenever someone called for assistance.
Still, when this time of year rolled around, melancholy raised its head. Perhaps it was living in Key West. Current temperature a balmy 25 degrees. Celsius. Or 77 Fahrenheit to his Hard Target teammates.
As it happened, Christmas was a grand thing in Key West Everything was covered in lights. Even the boats in the harbor. There were walking tours and trolley tours to see them all. Far different from frigid temperatures yet cozy celebrations of his Irish childhood.
This year, he just wasn’t feeling it. What was a Wolf to do? Shift and head to a secluded beach for some lone wolf time. So that’s what he did. The sand was warm and in wolf form, he dug out a wallow and settled in for a snooze.
He awoke with a sneeze caused by a nose full of fur. Soft, purring fur curled up tight against him. The wolf froze. The man inside? He bloody well hated cats now didn’t he.
The kitten yawned, showing all her tiny teeth and spread her murder mittens—with all her extra toes. A polydactyl from Hemingway House.
Loch nosed her away, rose and shook sand out of his fur. She meowed and followed as he walked off. All the way home. Feckin’ cat.
250 words that are the basis for my annual Christmas story–once I get it written. LOL
Martin grimaced and shrugged. “The doctors and Wahlberg say I’m on my way, but it doesn’t feel like there’s much improvement. At least not since this morning.”
“But you can move your arms and torso, which is a lot different than when you first started this recovery, so I’d say something’s working.” Corbin released Martin’s hand and sat down in the chair beside the bed. “I’ll need to go grocery shopping. There wasn’t much in the cupboards or fridge. I knew SEALs lived spartan but you took it to a whole new artform.”
He hoped Martin would smile, but Corbin’s words only got a new grimace. “Yeah, I don’t think I’ve been home much.”
“Once you’ve healed up, you will have time to be home and make your place fit you better. Plus, you could get a dog.”
Some light entered Martin’s eyes. “Yeah, maybe. If I stay in California.”
Corbin blinked. “Are you planning to leave? Where would you go?”
Martin shrugged. “I dunno. But there’s a damn good chance I’ll be medically discharged, especially if I can’t get my legs to work.” He held up a hand to stop Corbin’s protest. “It’s a possibility. But whatever happens, I’m done with the Teams, and I’ll have to figure out what I’m going to do.”
“You could always…” Corbin stopped, afraid to give voice to a hope he’d had for decades.
“I could always what?”
Corbin cleared his throat. “You could always move to Montana.” With me.
246 ineligible #StainlessSteelSEALs words
Dirk Tempest shook his head. “Houston – I’m still having a problem,” he said.
The capsule had cleared the ground, but not by much. When von Braun squatted to examine it, there was barely an inch separating it from the pad of concrete it had lifted off from. The nozzles beneath it were shrouded by flames, but its journey to the stars had hardly begun.
“Have you tried releasing the handbrake?” von Braun suggested. He pressed his face against the leaded glass of the windshield, mouthing the words, exaggerating every syllable. Then he mimed winding down the window, confident the cabin’s pressurisation wouldn’t be critical. The probe was still within the atmosphere, so its pilot being able to breathe wouldn’t be an issue. He wouldn’t even get a nosebleed, let alone suffer from anoxia.
The second launch was going as badly as the first.
“Wait a minute. I think I’m on my way. I can feel a surge coming.”
Von Braun stood back, placing his hands on his hips. He squinted through his darkened goggles, willing the rocket to rise. His feet weren’t even warm yet despite the fire washing over them.
There was still something seriously wrong.
“Still nothing doing,” he said. “Maybe if you switch it off and back on again.” He took hold of the rim at the base of the capsule, rocking it backwards and forwards, trying to raise it with the strength of his arms. “Although, you could lose a little weight. That might help.”
250 words – twothirdzrasta.blogspot.com
“I’m on my way.” Gertie waved to her sister, picking up the pack.
“This is a bad idea. Mother will not be happy.” The younger girl frowned, chewing on her lip, eyes darting to the door.
“Your mother will only know if you tell on me.” Her brows went up, head tilting to the side.
Vanessa sighed as she fidgeted. “Please don’t get caught.”
Gertie gave a bright grin before slinging the pack onto her shoulder and picked up the ax. Outside, the large dire wolf got to its feet, head swinging towards the door as she came out, pulling the hood on her cloak up to shield against the new snow falling.
“Remember, be back before sundown.” Vanessa gave the wolf a side eye. “And you better watch her back this time. I can’t explain all the wounds she gets.”
Blood red eyes looked to the other girl before giving a sneeze.
“I will do my best.” Gertie waved before patting the fuzzy muzzle. “Let’s go hunting.”
In my dream, I’m on my way to work at a place that echoes only sadness from my past. The hallways are too narrow, the lighting dim. I shouldn’t be there – I’ve moved on, they’ve moved on – but as is so often true in dream logic, we’ve been drawn back together by some dark animating force.
I talk to people who I once would have called friends, but no longer. Their words are cordial, but the look in their eyes echoes the drumbeat in my mind. “You left us, remember. You’re lucky we’re taking you back at all.
“And you’ll never be one of us again. If you ever truly were.”
Even in my dreams, I don’t belong.
And then I’m outside, walking across the space that should be green, but instead of a place of life, sorrow is engraved in every blade of grass. This isn’t the brown of winter, it’s the rot of decay.
Tears come, but I can’t shed them. They take root in my stomach and bloom tendrils of agony throughout my body. I feel like my chest has been filled by some cruel ichor that stops my breathing, stops my thinking, stops my motion.
I awaken slowly, as if clawing my way out of the depths, my ascent hampered by the weight in my chest. The mask that helps me breathe overnight becomes a shackle, and I pull it from my face with disgust.
Even when I’m awake, I don’t belong.
“We’ve been had.”
Abuela’s telepathic snarl was somehow scarier than any sound Lupita could make, and she was a werewolf. The supernatural vigilante and her grandmother hadn’t needed this much telepathic communication in one day since the first time they went up against Mikhail and Avery Alexander.
“Como?” Lupita thought back.
“The bloodsuckers wanted us away from mi tienda. The wards are broken. I’ve been robbed.”
“I’m on my way!”
Stepping into deeper shadow, Lupita shifted into her werewolf form to dash on all fours through the darkened desert.
“It’s bad, Pita.”
A somber sense of defeat crept into the little bruja’s thoughts. That scared Lupita more than Abuela’s previous fury. The werewolf vigilante raced the wind toward her grandmother’s small curio shop.
“Are you alright, Abuela? Where are the vampires now?”
“Long gone. They knew exactly what they were doing.”
Lupita pushed through the burn to lay on every ounce of speed she could muster. Nothing natural could match her current velocity. And she couldn’t hold it long.
“Between your magic and my nose, they won’t get away! We’ll find them!”
Ten miles down. Ten to go.
“We can, and we must,” Abuela agreed. “But I fear it may be too late.”
“What did they take?”
“The Curse Eater Ruby, an ill-conceived attempt at sealing all the world’s evil away in a single receptacle. The damned thing has been full to the verge of bursting since before my grandmother’s time. We’re looking at Pandora’s Box all over again.”
249 PRUDENT words
Khoury wandered the castle, debris crunching under his boots. He tried to picture how the place might have looked in days past. Now, the hall was ravaged and smoky, and the roof was missing in places. Vines spilled through broken windows and crept up the frayed remnants of forgotten tapestries as morning light filtered through dancing specks of dust.
Suddenly, Falin emerged from the doorway leading back into the stronghold. “I found the hidden chamber,” she breathed, the hint of a mischievous grin dimpled her grime-smeared cheek.
“I guess Enys will be happy about that,” Khoury said with more bite than he’d intended.
The huntress frowned and sniffed. “I’m on my way to tell him now, in fact.” She strode toward the main door and Khoury wasn’t sure if she expected him to follow or if she even wanted him to.
He touched her arm as she neared. “You don’t need to—”
She whirled, giving him a hard stare. “Don’t need to what?”
He lost himself in those eyes, glad to see her fractious spark had returned. Although she was far more difficult to handle this way, he loved that spirit.
“I’m not afraid of him,” she said into his silence.
Khoury chuckled wryly and slid his hand down to twine their fingers. “You’re not, but maybe … I am.”
She paused, then grinned. “Bah, you’d trounce him,” she crowed, leaning into his chest, making his heart ache with longing.
“Maybe it’s not that kind of competition,” he murmured.
250 Corthan Legacy WIP words
My dog is sleeping next to me, her little tummy expanding and contracting with each breath. I run my hand down her smooth back. So few assisted living facilities allow pets.
She stretches and blinks. My Maddy, small, breed unknown, fifteen-years-old. She nudges my hand, once twice, three times. Then she barks. I’ve had her since she was eight weeks old. A nursing assistant walks in
“Oh Maddy.” The aide’s lip trembles.
My 90-year-old body is wrinkled and grey, but I’m 40 again. Lithe, my hair brown, short and curly.
“I’m on my way.”
Maddy lays on my chest, whimpering, as activity blooms around her.
A young girl with short curly dark hair and wearing blinding purple robes, smiles at me. Beside her is a pure white horse, which dips its head at me. This is weirder than watching myself be checked over to be absolutely sure I’m dead.
A door opens and my husband sweeps me into a tight hug. Fifteen years is a long time apart. The girl walks us through the door and there’s my farm, my favorite place in the world, chickens clucking, my garden growing! But my Maddy…
The girl grasps my hand. “If you look out your kitchen window, you can keep an eye on her. Your niece will take her.”
Jim smiles at me and we walk inside. I hurry to the window and sure enough, there’s my Maddy, still on my chest. I smile, glad I can watch over her.
#ThursThreads Week 540 is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week, the calendar 11th anniversary, and I hope to catch you next week before the holiday.