Welcome back to the home of #ThursThreads. 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 563 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 563:
Computer geek, bass player, historical reenactor, and flash fiction writer, Mary Decker.
And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
“You need to keep calm.”
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!
11 Replies to “#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 563”
We are an isolated island. Increasingly isolated, abandoned by the State. Orphaned. The transportation infrastructure we’d relied on for decades has slowly deteriorated. The Government Dock was dismantled over twenty years earlier…a lack of funds, they said and we as a community couldn’t take it on.
The ferry system was privatized and then proved such a deep pocket boondoggle that the numbered corporation that owned it simply vaporized. From then on, we got back and forth by a series of water taxis and the occasional barge.
Some of us had our own boats but then the environment, nature, went haywire. Storms became a weekly event. Some of us had gone solar but the sun became less reliable.
Local leaders, elected and non-elected all said, “You need to keep calm.”
We said, “Right! Calm. Calm about what. No power. No food transported on a regular basis. No consistent medical care. All of us aging place, a place that cannot sustain us.”
And then, they started to come, to grow in numbers never fully imagined. They had overrun the cities, living in the garbage that overwhelmed the streets, the rats of the city spread their rodent charms out into the countryside.
Now, here I sit in my cellar. Hundreds of them are creeping up the outside walls of my home. Half a dozen rat eyes are peering in at me.
I tell myself, “You need to keep calm.”
I have become prey.
There is a certain calmness in that.
“Kailyn, wait.” Matt grabbed her wrist only for her to twist and yank away, rounding on him with such fire in her eyes that he took a step back. Sometimes he forgot just how scarily powerful, and unstable for it, she could be when he could still remember the terrified child she once was. “Just…think about this first. If you go in there hellbent it will create a bigger stir. You need to keep calm and-“
“And what?” She hissed. “Try to play nice? When has playing nice ever gotten me anywhere?”
He hastily tried to come up with a truth to that question but failed. “Playing hellbent hasn’t gotten us anywhere good either.”
“So I should just sit back, watch from afar as those assholes appoint a new Mistress that abuses and terrifies my Coven, unnecessarily punishes them for the most insignificant doings that are hardly ever their fault?”
The cold, dark magick was practically rolling off her in waves now, creating little wispy tendrils of black mist curling up and around her ankles. Slithering like snakes coiling to strike. It choked the air, dropped the room several degrees in temperature.
“Don’t…punch me for saying this,” Matt started much softer, his hands up in surrender. One wrong word and it could be a world of pain here. “But you did step down from them. The Council had some right-“
“You know why I-!” She sucked in a sharp breath, clenching her first. “That doesn’t make this right.”
248 #DarkHeir words
“I was on an errand for the new Keeper. She asked me to hand out the gift sachets to the people in the park.”
“Gift sachets?” The younger guard smirked. “Really, that’s your excuse?”
Before Diana could respond, the older guard’s expression softened. “I remember the previous Keeper doing that. I still have the one she gave me when I was a new guard at her palace.” He gave Diana a warm smile. “It’s good the new Keeper takes up this tradition. It shows she cares about her people.”
He held open the gate to the herb garden and let Diana pass though the younger guard sputtered in surprise.
“You’re not going to let her though just because of some bags tied with ribbons, are you?” The younger guard gaped.
The older guard nodded. “You’re too young to know of this tradition, but the Keeper would give out these tokens of honor to those of the greatest quality. She always seemed to know just the right scent or herb for each person. Go on through, miss.”
Diana made a note to see if one of the sachets would call to the younger man when she walked around in her official capacity. She nodded as the younger man continued to complain, and made to grab her as she passed.
“You need to keep calm, Enbo.” The older guard caught the younger man’s hand. “She’s on an errand from the new Keeper. To interfere is to be derelict in our duty.”
250 ineligible #Rifts words
“It’s not working,” I complained.
“Just keep at it, it’s rather easy,” Clifford explained.
“Yes, sure just like math, it comes easy to you.”
“A soldier like you, and you can’t handle a simple thing like this?”
“Shut-up or leave!”
“No need to get testy.”
“You just want to see me fail. I can tell, Calvin.”
“Then I’ll just sit here and watch.”
“Brothers! Stay only if you’re quiet.”
“I don’t understand, why, it is so important.”
“You wouldn’t, but the King gets many presents mine, must be the best.”
“You need to keep calm; everything will work out better that way.”
“You are a twit; don’t you know you never say that to a woman!”
“You’re a woman, Anna?”
“That’s the problem. I am a woman and people expect me to know womanly arts. I don’t cook,”
“This is baking, it is science.”
“Take a deep breath and take it out of the oven.”
Taking it out of the oven, I finished and presented it to the King said, “My beloved wife, has outdone herself with this three-tiered cake let’s see if it tastes as good as it looks.”
He choked down a piece but I knew it was awful. Then he offered it to others. Frankly, I was scared,
Calvin took it in the kitchen and came back with it all cut up.
I took a bite of mine and marveled that it tasted so good, Calvin then said “You’re welcome.”
I smiled back at him.
Kingdom stood behind me. I was conscious of his hands on my shoulders, the flat plane of his chest against my back. He was one of the Nephilim. A creature of almost infinite power. He could survive almost anything: the gods themselves had tried to smite him down. He had stumbled, then got up again, casually flinging their lightning bolts back.
He was the focus of the storm. He was infinite. He was my champion, my guide.
“You need to keep calm,” he said. “It’s easy.” He lifted his hands, letting me take full responsibility. I stood at the edge, my toes curling within my shoes as they sought the stability he’d taken back. I could feel him, as solid as a wall, immense. Rooted into the earth.
“I can’t,” I said. “It’s too far. There’s nothing, no security. I could fall until my anxiety snuffs me out. A flame without oxygen.”
He stirred, his presence more of a suggestion than a fact. I felt liberated, in thrall, giddy from the height. The world was like a faded map book, its boundaries scrubbed out. I reached out to cup at the air: knowing how thin it was. I lifted myself up onto my toes, testing my courage.
I sensed him move away and felt the chill at my back. I felt the pressure of three individual points of contact: small but with the strength of adamantium, insistent and rod-like.
“Just jump, already,” he said, shoving me off the ledge.
249 words – twothirdzrasta.blogspot.com
The sqaud of soldiers lowered their weapons. Meg didn’t know how to respond to the unfolding scene. Petro stood beside her and said softly, “Were you able to translate?”
She almost giggled. “The mom finger needs no translation.”
Several things happened simultaneously. Kin relieved Max of the combat knife and the weapon disappeared. Apparently, none of the Romanian soldiers had noticed that the boy had been armed. Duke approached the petite woman. “Ah, Princes? You need to keep calm. Okay?”
Princess? Totally confused, Meg looked to Kin for an explanation. She got one.
“’Tis his wife, lass. Corey. She’s a pediatrician and from what I’ve gathered, not one to be messed with when it concerns kids. She turns into an absolute dragon.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” Meg said.
Loch coughed into his hand, stifling a laugh when Uri said, “What is that saying you Brits have? Keep calm and carry on?”
That earned both men the side-eye from Corey before she assured her husband with, “I won’t do anything rash, Duke, but the commander and I have already discussed this. We will take the kids to the infirmary for triage.” She glanced over her shoulder at Meg. “And you, too, hon. Duke told me you’d been injured in a cave-in. And then—” She turned to face the commander again. “They are coming back to the hotel with us until decisions are made.” She smiled the smile of a woman who knew she’d get her way. “Isn’t that right, Colonel?”
250 carry-on Crossfire WIP words from last week
“Whoa, buckaroo! You need to calm down. We’ve got all night.” Lacey took the young man’s hand from her breast and looked him in the eye.
“I know you’ve been waiting for this for what seems like forever, but we’re going to do it right, okay?” He swallowed hard and nodded as if he wasn’t just incapable of speech, but incapable of understanding the concept of speech.
“Good. Now come here.” Lacey led him to the bed and sat him down, hoping that like all the others, he didn’t notice the crinkling sound from the bedspread. She sat down on his lap and brought his hands to her hips.
“There. Isn’t that better?”
“We’re nice and close, aren’t we?”
“Do I feel good here, on your lap, with your hands on me?”
This time he nodded so fast his glasses slipped down his nose. She giggled softly and pushed them back where they belonged.
“Good. Now let’s get started. I want you to lean forward and kiss me right…here.” His eyes followed as she slowly moved her finger from the bridge of his glasses to the side of her neck.
Her victim leaned forward hungrily, and she put a hand on his chest. “Gently.”
He nodded again and exceptionally slowly brought his lips to her neck.
Lacey sighed. “Mmmm. Yes. Good. Now…gently…taste me with your tongue.”
The instant his tongue touched her flesh, her body transformed.
Now he found his voice, but it was too late.
“I wanna ride my pony!”
Princess Orinda Ambrosius stomped her foot. The exhausted King and Queen Ambrosius exchanged worried glances, but the princess’ mentor shook their head without breaking eye contact with their pupil.
“We can go back to your breathing exercises, if you would like,” the elegant instructor offered.
“No!” Princess Orinda stomped again.
“You can’t go outside until you have finished your scripture reading.”
“I hate stupid scripture! I wanna go riding!” Princess Orinda snarled, eyes blazing.
Her mentor took a deep, deliberate breath while the very tower stones seemed still with apprehension.
“Princess, you need to keep calm.”
The mentor turned wearily to the king and queen.
“Your majesties may wish to step out of the room for a while.”
Another concerned exchange of glances and a moment of hesitation later, the monarchs left their daughter alone with her instructor. Princess Orinda glowered, arms crossed. Her mentor lifted the book of scripture from where it had fallen, opened it back to the princess’ place, and smoothed the pages.
“No!” Princess Orinda backhanded the sacred text across her room. “You can’t make me read that!”
“No,” her mentor calmly crossed the room and retrieved the scripture. “But I can keep you in your room.”
“That’s not fair!” Princess Orinda’s voice cracked with tears she fought back. “The other princesses get to ride whenever they want!”
“The other princesses don’t breathe fire.”
Princess Orinda huffed. Her mentor patted their blackened tunic out for the umpteenth time that day.
My Imperfect World, by Joseph P. Garland (@JPGarlandAuthor), 154 words.
In a perfect world, maybe I’d know what to do. In a perfect world, I would be told “you need to keep calm,” and I would keep calm. In a perfect world.
My life is not a perfect world. But it is my life.
“Deep breaths.” Now that’s advice, not some BS aphorism. That’s something even my imperfect world can understand.
So I close my eyes and inhale in/exhale out. Inhale in/exhale out.
And it does help. My palms aren’t so damp. My breathing not so short.
“I’ll be waiting.”
I look over.
“All you need to do is…be yourself and remind yourself that whatever happens, I’ll still love you.”
“I don’t need reminding.” For the first time since we arrived, I smile. In my imperfect world, that’s the one perfection. She’s the one perfection.
I nod, do one more inhale in/exhale out, and go in.
#ThursThreads is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope to catch you next week.