#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 543

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 543 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 543:

Gamer, crazy cat lady and novice artistNellie Batz.

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And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.

The Prompt:

“Thank you for volunteering.”

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 543”

  1. “Thank you for volunteering,” I stared at the bottle of Aripiporazole. “They should print that on the bottle. ‘Cause you don’t have any clue how this stuff is going to work for you. And neither do they.”

    I yawned, and stared at the bottle. “5 mg per pill.” I shook my head. “I can barely pick the pills up with my big damn fingers, they’re that tiny.”

    It was hard to believe that little bit of anything could result in so much chaos in me, yet there I was, sleeping 12 hours or more every day. Unable to focus on anything. Wondering if I could stand up long enough to do the dishes, or if I needed to break the dishes into multiple sessions of say, 5 minutes each.

    Another yawn struck. “If I sit here another minute I’ll be in naps-ville.” I got up, and walked around the house, stopping at the top of the stairs. “Can I make it down the stairs alive?” It wasn’t a question of did I have the physical strength, it was did I have the balance to get down without tripping and killing myself.

    I stepped back from the stairs, and walked up and down the hallway for a bit. I sat in the gravity chair, but got back up after a minute. I wound up back at my computer, looking at that bottle of pills.

    “Not taking my dose tonight. Nope. Not doing it. Ask someone else to volunteer.”

    248 Words

  2. The Road Back Part 9

    New Year’s Eve was almost over. Strange how it seems so full of promise. Then it arrives, fireworks explode, a few resolutions are made, most similar to the failed aspirations of the past.

    I spent much of it alone, sitting in the booth at the front of Dick’s Joint, staring out at the darkness, waiting for an old flame.

    Yeah, I’m old enough to think of former lovers as flames.

    There was once some heat.

    I suppose we both got burned.

    Cheri showed up just after midnight. An Uber dropped her off. She was dressed to the nines, catlike in the fog, a tad wobbly, fur draped, looking like she could go all cannibal at the drop of a hat.

    Or a pitchfork.

    I let her in. She fell into the booth.

    “You’re looking good,” I said. “Coffee?”

    “On New Years? You’ve become so boring.”

    “Maybe,” I agreed. “This is a business meeting.”

    “Oh lover, boring is almost not enough.”

    “Cheri, you said it was life and death. I’m here for old time’s sake…which were years ago. What’s your problem.”

    Maybe my bluntness sobered her. I could see fear drift into her countenance like a sudden mist appearing on a night highway.

    “Sam, my ex, I think he’s planning my death.”

    “Why do you think that?”

    “He sent me a note that said, Thank you for volunteering to halve your monthly allowance.”

    “Generous of you.”

    “I volunteered nothing. He’s planting seeds.”

    “Seeds of…?”

    “My destruction.”

    250 WIP

  3. Major-general Muir paused to stare at Kin. “You look familiar.”

    Habit had Kin coming to attention and he just managed to hold back a salute. “I served in the 22nd SAS Regiment, sir. CTW.”

    “Counter Terrorism Wing.” Muir almost relaxed. He fixed his gaze on Duke. “If this is the caliber of your team…” He trailed off, not quite sure what rank to assign Duke.

    “Chief works,” Duke said. “I was US Navy. SEAL. Chief Petty Officer.”

    The worry in Muir’s eyes faded. “My girl’s in good hands then. There’s an Atlas flying to Mihail Kogălniceanu, Romania. NATO base and they’re prepared to assist. Your contact is Major Radu of their Military Logistics Administration. He is fully briefed and…” He hesitated. “I trust him. He’ll make necessary arrangements and supply whatever military equipment and transportation you need. He will brief your team on the current situation within Ukraine’s borders.”

    “Is your daughter still on the move?” Duke asked.

    Muir rubbed his eyes. “No. Apparently not. Her current location is in the file, along with the information to track her phone. The signal has been stationary for 24 hours. She’s somewhere northwest of Odessa. The last ping from her phone indicated she was out in the middle of…nothing. No towns nearby.”

    “That’s all we need,’ Duke said.

    They rose to leave. Muir followed them to the door. “Thank you for volunteering. You have renewed my faith.”

    Not that they had volunteered. Duty was duty and this mission was currently theirs.
    250 Hard Target: Crossfire WIP words

  4. I’d spent the day wallowing in self pity, self-loathing and fear for the future as I had now become my agility had now taken a medical turn and as night fell and snow started to fall heavily from the sky. Just what I needed; I’d be trapped in my home. It was then I heard the sounds at soft at first then loud cries.
    At first, I didn’t see the small black creature, but the cries broke my heart. I bundled up putting on my boots and limped through the snow finding a tiny kitten visibly bruised with kick marks on her stomach. I wanted to take and kick whomever had done this to this beautiful calico kitten.
    I swiftly called my friend Sam, the vet who lived two blocks away.
    “She’s pregnant about 45 days and very young nine months at most.”
    “Isn’t she too young?”
    “She’s got about 23 to 25 days left and yes she may need assistance.”
    As she purred around my feet and then jumped into my lap, I found a deep calm like this cat and I were meant to be together.
    “Thank you for volunteering to be a parent,” Sam stated.
    “You know I’m keeping her and the kittens?”
    “She’s picked you, so, yes.”
    Persephone and her kittens, Poppy and Pepper saved my life, whenever I’m sad or need some TLC, they are there and so is Sam who started coming over frequently to check on them and became my husband.
    248 Words

  5. “Thank you for volunteering, Mr. Bear,” Annalisa intoned as she tightened the straps on her old highchair-cum-time machine. “You will go to places and times undreamt-of by stuffies everywhere.”

    She picked up her parents’ iPad and swiped to the Kids Corner folder. Building an app that controlled a time machine and hiding it from Mom and Dad was almost more difficult than building the time machine in the first place, given that they had to authorize all installs, but her partners in Africa built a workaround.

    After firing up “Count With Me, 1-2-3,” Annalisa waited for the smiling ducks to stop singing and then selected Settings>Read EUA. Nobody ever read those.

    The EUA appeared, stayed on the screen for ten seconds, and then vanished. Its replacement was a simple control panel. Not the one Annalisa wanted, but she had the fingers of a four-year-old human. It didn’t matter that she could think in eight dimensions if her body couldn’t perform the necessary movements.

    It was a shame that she had to use Mr. Bear for this assignment, because he was the cuddliest of all her stuffies, but he was also the only one large enough to contain the messages she was sending home. They were encoded on polyfill, but there were so very many she had no other options.

    The tears started as she thought of never seeing his smile and big dark eyes again, and Annalisa wrapped her arms around him for one final hug.

    It was go-time.

    250 words

  6. The last applicant lay facedown in the mud, the back of their head caved in. Another was crouched beside the entry portal, its ribcage splayed open and its internal organs missing. A third one was little more than a charred outline, burned into the titanium alloy of the transfer booth, one of its hands still clenched about the actuator lever.

    “Thank you for volunteering,” the cyborg officer said, shaking my hand. “You’re just in time for the next spatial transfer, due to arrive in less than five minutes. If you stand on that cross I’ve marked on the steel decking, you’ll be at the optimum position, halfway between the control panel and the security shield I’ll be watching from.”

    “Nobody said it’d be dangerous.” My head was in two places, my corporeal body still rematerializing around my mind. The Sergeant-at-Arms had been confident it would only be a clean-up operation. I wouldn’t have taken the commission if I’d thought it would require that I engage in combat.

    “Did you really expect there’d be no risk here?” The officer looked incredulous, his prosthetic eye bugging out like a gobstopper. “The recruiting sergeant has been warned about misrepresenting our mission briefs. He’s done this before, I’m afraid.”

    “So, I can go home? You can send me straight back?” I stepped back into the transfer pad, expecting that the recruiting office would reappear.

    “Nope. Not until after the next incoming transmission. It’s an enraged minotaur assassin from Bagarax IX, and they’re always homicidal.”

    250 words – twothirdzrasta.blogspot.com

  7. The last time I saw her, I had been drinking. But here she was again with her ashy skin and shocking pink hair. I hoped her new robe wasn’t made of what it looked like it was made of.

    “Holy shit… You’re real!”

    She turned around from laying the sleeping girl she’d carried in on my couch. The child had the same ashy skin and blue hair that seemed to glow with her peaceful breathing.

    “Did you miss me?”

    My mouth opened and closed uselessly. Miss her? I hadn’t thought about her at all since that night.

    Something was different, though. That night would not have gone the way I think it did if I’d been as scared of her then as I was now. There was fire behind her amber eyes and menace in her small sharp smile.

    Also, the muscles of her robe just twitched.

    “I’m afraid I need your help,” she sighed. “The ranger hunting me is getting too close. I can’t have our daughter around when she catches me.”


    I nodded. The girl mostly looked like her mother, but she was about the right age for what I remembered.

    While I was still figuring out what to say, or even think, the girl’s mother began gesturing with arcane power emanating from her hands.

    “Thank you.”

    “For volunteering?”

    “For your sacrifice.”

    Her spell crashed down on me. My skin tightened, my bones twisted, and my scream transitioned into an inhuman yowl.

    The kid slept through that?

    250 words

  8. “Thank you all for coming,” the chairman said. “I can’t remember the last time all of us were gathered in the same room.”

    “I imagine you might be wondering…” he shook his head. “No, you all know why you are here.”

    “I’m your boss and I said I had an important announcement to make.”

    “So, let’s stop beating around the bush.”

    “I am not here to fire you. In fact, the Hospital Board is looking for each of you to inform you that I have been sacked.”

    “Please don’t pretend to be shocked. Each of you signed the letter to the board, questioning my research and condemning my…” he looked at his notes.

    “Reckless and dangerous disregard for scientific rigor and proper safety procedures.”

    His voice grew cold, “but when your little boy is dying, you do not have time for rigor and clinical trials.”

    “All I was trying to do was save my son and you monsters killed him.”

    The crowd tried to rise, only to find manacles closing around their feet and hands.

    “My research did not find a cure for exographic crytopathy, but it has shown great promise as a cross-species grafting agent, and that is why you are here tonight.”

    He put on a gas mask.

    “In the interest of scientific rigor, I am conducting my first clinical trial here tonight.”

    Purple gas flooded the room from vents in the ceiling and the floor.

    “Thank you for volunteering.”

    242 Words
    Joel Sandersen

  9. “That’s quite an outfit you got there. All black, complete with face paint. I didn’t know you were into sneaking around at night like a soldier. I thought you avoided anything associated with the military.”

    Chester blinked. Oh shit, I forgot about the face paint.

    “Uh, yeah, well. I didn’t want to get shot on sight.” Chester nodded at the gun in a holster on Avery’s hip. “Why are you carrying that, anyway? No one at this campus is armed.”

    “Oh, we both know that’s not true.” Avery shook his head. “The armed guards weren’t going to let us in here without a fight. But they’re no longer a problem.” He shrugged and his smile widened. “We could’ve avoided all the unpleasantness if they’d just told me where you were. Have you been here the whole time and we just missed you?”

    Chester swallowed hard. What the hell could he tell Avery? He’d never been good at lying, but the last thing he wanted was to put the Sirens in danger. He took a deep breath and shook his head.

    “No, I haven’t been here.” That was somewhat true. “The FBI asked me to come in here to make some sort of antidote.” He tried to shrug nonchalantly. “So here I am.”

    “Well, thank you for volunteering. It makes my job so much easier.” Avery’s grin widened. “How about we go to your lab? I wouldn’t want to stand in the way of your work.”

    245 ineligible #Sirens words

  10. The first punch caught me on the side of the chin, snapping my head to the side. My teeth ground and the taste of blood tinged against my tongue.

    The second blow I’d expected and blocked. I dug my fingers into the waist bag, searching for the right amulet. I snapped a handful and deflection charms zipped through the air against our attackers like fighting stars—except these were filled with magic.

    The air sparkled and the leader in a tight red nylon jacket raised his fist. “You witch!”

    He outweighed me by at least three times as much and stood more than a foot taller.

    “Ever hear of brains vs. brawn?” I asked, tossing a percussion spell. A cacophony of chimes, drums and symbols reverberated in invisible waves, knocking those closest to the ground. They’d be unconscious for a few minutes. Long enough for us to escape.

    Margie extended her hand to me. As our fingers touched, some of her energy passed into my body. “Thank you.”

    “For volunteering to take on that asshole?” I rubbed the side of my face where I took the blow. “No problem.”

    Still holding hands, I tugged her forward until her body flushed against mine. We stood equal, thigh to thigh, breast to breast and lips to lips. She smelled like spring flowers after a refreshing rain along the coastline. Her exhale blended with mine until the moment we kissed.

    We broke for air, and I wanted more.

    “Let’s go home.”


  11. How the Showdog Got His Bite

    Thomas listened to the man as he started to gloat, and forced himself not to laugh about the bad-guy monologing. That was Gavin’s job. If Gavin were conscious.

    He refused to rise to the bait about being weak and all show, no bite. It wasn’t completely untrue. Thomas had spent most of his time as a soldier and later a troubleshooter as the team’s show-dog.

    His job was usually to keep the enemy focused on him while his team did the real work in the background.

    Hell, his call sign was ShowDog. His job, as he joked with his team was to be the pretty assistant to the team’s magicians who worked behind the scenes, only they were either out of communications range or in no shape to help.

    Despite himself, he was losing the battle with that damn smile. It was so hard to keep a straight face as the man spent so much time telling him how helpless he was.

    If the man only knew, if the man only realized, that show dogs bit just as hard as guard dogs, probably harder because, well, it was more annoying when you tease the pretty dog.

    The man expected an attack from the junk-yard dog.

    Thomas felt his stomach muscles twitch as he lost his battle and looked at his incapacitated friends, seeing if any could object.

    “Thank you for volunteering me,” he said, as his laughter filled the room.

    And that is where the ShowDog got his bite.

    250 Words not including title

  12. “Ah, thank you for volunteering, Thirteen.”

    Clover glared back at the snickers of fellow trainees, dusting her hands off on grey sweats as she picked herself up from the floor. Bitches. The whole lot of them. She hadn’t volunteered. She’d been harshly nudged forward and their teacher was an oblivious ass to the ganging up against her. She turned her attention to Nighteye, still wondering how this woman had been accredited that code name. Convinced it had something to do with her uncanny ability to sniper them with blanks in the dark through a thick forest of evergreens and pines.

    “Thirteen.” The tug downwards of Nighteye’s lips told Clover she’d just missed whatever their instructor had said. Whoops.

    “Yes, ma’am?”

    “Did you hear my instruction?”

    “No, ma’am.”

    “Then why, may I ask, did you volunteer?” Striking blue eyes narrowed. Clover squared her shoulders under that gaze, locking her jaw.

    “I didn’t. If you paid closer attention, you would know that.”

    A hushed silence fell across the dozen other trainees behind her. Nighteye stepped up toe-to-toe with Clover, just two heads taller. Now I’ve done it. I’m in for a night long of running the ten-mile perimeter of the compound.

    “Perhaps if I was paying closer attention, I might notice that out of the thirteen girls before me, you are the only one I believe will pass this test. Now, are you going to show them up or not?”

    Clover tilted her chin up with newfound respect, “yes, ma’am.”

    248 words

    I hope my italics worked out alright.

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