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 557 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 557:
Cat afficionado, Editor, and Mid Week Flash host, Miranda Kate.
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And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
“There was nothing good left.”
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 557”
On The Prowl
Pretty Thing saw the beast coming, huge, black, fire thundering out its tail. She scurried back into the wet blackberry bramble and waited till it passed.
“Damn,” she mewed, “how do those beasts get so big?”
“And so dog-barking loud,” a voice said from behind her.
“Crikee, Scary Cat. Stop sneaking up behind me. There goes another life.”
“Ha, Pretty Thing, you don’t believe that old witch’s tale about nine lives, do you?. Me, I’ve gone through a baker’s dozen at least. And besides, I was here first.”
“Fine. You’re right. Sorry. It just seems like there are more and more of them every day. And speed. They speed. Don’t give a mouse’s tush about us.”
“Well, that’s a given. The Human Race…always racing. What else can you expect? Anyways, seen any good scarf? I could eat my weight in pretty much anything.”
“I’ve been looking to. Cozied up to the Widow Rawlin’s yesterday…she’s always dropping vittles, kind of drop out of her mouth when she eats and talks…yucky, but life sustaining. There was nothing good left after I hoovered her droppings.”
“Love old people…spreading their wealth. Seen any little critters with cute tails and no sense of survival?”
“A couple blocks over…I’ve heard there is an infestation…been meaning to head over that way.”
“Then, let’s check her out. Mind the company?”
“Scary thing, it’s helps to know you are by my side ‘stead of lurking in the bushes. Let’s go.”
“Why didn’t you leave me a mouthful?” her mum said, glaring. “Just a taste. I work for you all week, and this is what I get. Dismissed without a thought. It’s hurtful; that’s what it is.”
Suella shook her head. It hadn’t even been an artful potion. She’d tossed in a dead mouse, the head of a bat, and a couple of comfrey leaves from the back of a drawer. Its active ingredients had been of negligible worth. You couldn’t even have used it to cure a verruca.
“There was nothing worth saving, Mum,” she replied. “By the time I’d filled a bottle with the scum from the top, there was nothing good left. It was a meagre distillation of nothing much at all. A placebo – in all but its name.”
“A placebo, you think. Have you learned nothing?” Her mother trailed a finger around the rim of her daughter’s cauldron and lifted it to her mouth, tasting the remains of the infusion. “It’s what you put into it from yourself that gives it its power. And THAT’S why I’m annoyed. Doubly annoyed if you’re throwing ingredients together and just pouring them into a bottle. You’ve our family’s reputation to think of. What do you think your grandmother would have said if she’d known? She was always concerned about your attitude.”
“I… but… no… but, Mom,” Suella stammered. “I didn’t mean it like that. And don’t you ever mention my Gran like that! You know she’s always listening.”
249 words – twothirdzrasta.blogspot.com
There is a long tradition in my family. The eldest son takes over the family business when he is of age. It has been this way for generations. However, I did not want to marry someone purely to have a son. My parents were instructed to marry each other and while they made a loving couple, I could always sense they were not entirely happy. My father, upon the passing of my mother, said “there was nothing good left of our relationship. Now she can be happy.”
So, I did not marry. And now it is two hundred years later, and no one is here to take over for me. I suppose now is a good time to mention that I am The One True Death. And if I retire on schedule no one can die. The Death Council governs, but they do not run the Afterlife. I decide who lives and dies and when, and if I am not here, no one can make those decisions. The Council are good rule makers but are terrible at making life and death decisions.
As much as I would prefer to select my replacement, it may fall the Council. I have already decided who I wish to replace me and will have a contest to determine the winner. I simply have to decide what kind of contest to have.
I am quite good at getting myself into these situations. Perhaps I should begin the selection process with haste.
Maura had glimpsed the man in various courtrooms and in the hallways but sitting here, within six feet of him? A handsome man, Brian O’Hara was in his late sixties. His cronies called him Brian Boru after an Irish king and the tribute fit since he was the king of Boston’s Irish mob.
He smiled at her, and his eyes lit with merriment. He sat there behind an antique desk looking benign and grandfatherly, which made him all the more terrifying.
“I don’t believe I ever suspected that Assistant District Attorney Maura Brannigan twould be sittin’ across my desk from me.”
She didn’t return his smile. “And here I believed that eventually, you’d be sitting in a courtroom at the defense table while I sat at the prosecutor’s.”
“Life is funny that way.” He leaned back and studied her before his gaze focused on the tall man leaning a shoulder against the office door. “She’s sharp, Ronan.”
“Aye, Bri, she is.”
Maura kept her poker face firmly in place. “You’re the one who wanted to see me, Mr. O’Hara. Why am I here?”
“And blunt too.”
Ronan’s face matched her own. “Aye, that too.”
“Would ya like to be DA, Maura Brannigan?”
For a split second, her composure shattered. Then reason—and reality—returned. “No.”
“And why not?”
“For the same reason I turned in my resignation.”
“And that would be?”
“There was nothing good left. Not anymore.”
“Fine then. Call me if ya change yer mind.”
249 Moonstruck Mafia WIP words
“There was nothing good left,” that’s what some people were saying.
But there were always people who like to rabble rouse and stir up trouble; but according to Vicky Matty would end them. I felt it needed a lighter touch lest, Matheo couldn’t look like he was involved . Matheo was my dearest friend; we’d been friends, since we were children; but ever since Vicky had come along it had made things difficult.
“Why are you here?” Vicky asked, “Matty should really fire you.”
“Victoria Wentworth!!” Matheo cried barring his incisors.
“Don’t eat me.” Vicky cried fleeing the room.
“It’s not funny, the girl has a crush on me.”
“You have people who are terrified of you, talking about zombies and other things and you’re worried about a teenage girl?”
“You have to save me Louise. Marry me.”
“I mean it. I’ve missed you. I love you, Lou. You calm everything down. You can make the world a better place for all especially me. You don’t have to be my vampire queen, only my queen.”
“I want to live with you forever, I love you too.”
“So, you’ll be my vampire queen and quell the riots and talk of zombies?”
“Of course, and I already have a plan will release a controlled virus to some of the population that will target our enemies. They’ll get sick and the population will be distracted.”
“Great plan, with our wedding the other distraction. That’s why you’ll be my queen.”
As the boots of Elizabeth Bennet and Maria Lucas touched the London pavement when they alit from the stage from Hunsford, they were jolted by the sound of Lydia Bennet’s call from the first floor of a tavern on the western side of the square.
“Lizzy,” the youngest of the Bennet girls called from the window, waving violently. “We have arrived to surprise you and you must come up for you lunch before we head home.”
Although Lizzy and Maria knew that Sir Lucas would send a carriage for them, they were not expecting this. Not having seen Lydia for some months, they were pleased. They hurried up as their baggage was moved from the public stage to the private coach, and in the tavern’s parlour they found Lydia and Kitty.
“We wanted to surprise you,” the youngest Bennet said. “We will ride to Longbourn together.”
Maria laughed at the surprise and Lizzy said how pleased she was.
“Lydia bought an ugly hat while we waited,” Kitty said.
Lydia ignored this, dancing about the room, waving the straw hat, with a large, blue ribbon about.
“It is truly dreadful,” she said as she plopped into a chair. “But there was nothing good left and I had to buy something to take back from our excursion to town.”
“Perhaps you can sew something decent on it,” Maria said just as Lydia flung it to the side.
“I don’t care, but I am afraid, Lizzy, that now you must pay for lunch.”
250 words, @jpgarlandauthor
She could have said;
When your mother wasn’t much older than you are now, she earned the right to apprentice under the archmage of the elves. My mother.
Humans almost never earn that privilege, but your mother was both naturally gifted and a quick study. The daughter my mother wished I had been.
Things hadn’t been good between my mother and I for some time. She felt I spent too much time in the deep forest, practicing my woodcraft and archery. I needed that time to keep from ripping my books and scrolls apart when I got frustrated.
I had overheard some elders say that my mother had changed when my father died. I was too young to remember. Of course, those same elders claimed that my mother could smile.
Though I barely remembered my father, I always felt closer to his tools and armaments than to my mother’s tomes and relics.
I sought solace in the woods more as, over the months, your mother breezed through lessons that had taken me decades to master.
Your mother became closer to mine and took an interest in the forbidden arts. Those secrets that must never be known. Nor forgotten.
One night, while your mother was receiving a special private lesson, the sky over the arcane glade bled. A forbidden art had been used. My mother was dead; yours was not.
And there was nothing good left.
Instead, she said, “I have my reasons.”
“Hurry it up, will you? This place gives me the creeps.”
“I am going as fast as I can without risking damage to what we came for,” he grunted.
Drew frowned. The light of the torch flickered eerie shadows off the cobwebbed walls. The basement reeked of mold and mildew. Each cloth-covered chest and piece of furniture was covered in a thick layer of dust. He could taste it every time he breathed in or spoke. “Why do you always pick the abandoned haunted places to loot?”
“Why do I pick them? You agreed to this haul. Besides, all the so-called haunted places always have the good stuff.”
“Then why are we still picking through someone’s trash and treasure and coming up empty?” There was nothing good left of value here. If there were, they would have found it already. “Let’s just call it quits on this one.”
Mark snorted. “No way. There’s still a bunch of chests. Help me search, carefully, and we’ll get out of here faster then if you’re so scared.”
“I am not scared,” he replied indignantly, squaring his shoulders against the draft of freezing air.
“Could have fooled me.”
Drew shot his partner a withering glare before he froze in his tracks. All his little hairs stood on end. “What did you say?”
“I didn’t say anything.”
“No, I did.” The third voice might have been male, but it definitely wasn’t Mark. “And I think that’s my trash and treasure you’re looting through.”
After a week of walking around the town, exploring the buildings and houses, and standing on the pier, Sunshine decided there was nothing good left to do, and that she’s rested enough. The next morning she would start exploring the world again, but this time she would take care of herself.
She got clean in the water of the shower once again. She slept on the soft, comfortable bed once again. She had gone to the pier and watched the sun rise. She had a good breakfast. She was as ready as she’d ever be.
There was no need to tell the machines she was resuming her journey. She understood they already knew. That day, as she walked along the shore of the ocean, she thought about how she would spend that night, in the middle of nowhere, with no source of food, and no shelter. That day as she walked, she realized she could call on the wild magic of the machines, and they could make her a place to stay, they could make her food to eat, they could make a bed for her to sleep in.
All she had to do was tell them what she wanted.
That night, she watched the sun set, then she walked for a while, until she was ready to rest. She walked near the ocean, and imagined a deck on the sand. She imagined a canopy on that deck, to protect her from wind and rain.
And so it was.
Charlie Collins was the lonely kid. When I say that, you might get a picture in your head of what a lonely kid looks like. Maybe it’s the girl sitting alone in the cafeteria, keeping her head down and wishing, for the hundredth time, that she was invisible. Or the guy in the corner at the birthday party watching the other kids play and believing that, while he was invited to the party, he wasn’t invited to the real party, the one where people had fun. The kid hiding in their room after school. The kid on the swings alone on the playground. The one whose nose was always in a book. Ears covered by headphones.
The point is, we all have an image of that lonely kid. Maybe they were someone we knew growing up. Maybe they were us.
But Charlie was different from all of those kids we hold in our mind’s eye. She wasn’t *a* lonely kid. She was *the* lonely kid, the archetype upon which all the others were built. She wasn’t lonely because she was different, or awkward, or people told her she was funny-looking, or too fat or too thin or too weird.
It wasn’t that she lived in a world where there was nothing good left so she avoided all the bad. She lived in an empty world, one in which she was a cipher and where the rest of the people in the world had no more substance than a phantasm.
Triss was still dressed, but there was an IV in her hand and she was surprisingly comfortable and sleepy. She turned her head toward the door of her room and found someone sitting in the chair beside the bed.
“Sheriff Briona?” Her voice sounded like someone had installed a bullfrog in her throat.
“Hey, look who’s awake.” The sheriff unfolded herself from the chair and set aside her ereader. “How are you feeling, Triss?”
Triss grimaced. “I don’t know. Okay, I guess. Where am I?”
“You’re in the Smith’s Clinic, getting treated for dehydration and low blood sugar.” Sheriff Briona frowned a little. “If you’re pregnant with a little one, you have to do a better job taking care of your body, or neither one of you will make it the nine months.”
Triss froze. “How do you know I’m pregnant?”
Briona gave her a patient smile. “You told me. In the grocery store. You don’t remember?”
Triss shook her head and wondered if this was where Briona told her she’d looked into her past and found out what she was running from. But Briona patted her hand and pointed at the IV.
“That should help. Once you’re properly hydrated, I’ll take you home and help you get something to eat. What were you doing at the store in that state, anyway?”
Triss grimaced again. “There was nothing good left in the fridge. I had to go grocery shopping or I’d be eating nothing but peanut butter on saltines.”
249 ineligible #SummitSprings words
#ThurSThreads is now closed. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope to catch you next week.