#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 568

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 568 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 568:

David A. Ludwig wearing a shirt that reads, "I'm not procrastinating, I'm doing side quests."

Fantasy Author, and Holder of Several Stories, David Ludwig.

Facebook | Twitter

And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.

The Prompt:

“I should have been there.”

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!

19 Replies to “#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 568”

  1. At the Lambton Tavern

    There was just one tavern in Lambton. Everyone knew the master of nearby Pemberley, of course, but when he appeared he was given much deference and plenty of leeway.

    Such was the case this evening. He was there with his dearest friend. They’d arrived at the estate by horse some hours earlier from their two-day ride from town. Immediately upon their entry into the house, their horses having been taken by a stablehand, the butler brought them drinks. Seeing the pair, Mrs. Reynolds, the housekeeper, stepped up to her master.

    “Oh, Sir. You missed them. A nice lady and her relations. She said she’d met you. A Miss Elizabeth Bennet she was. Not pretty, if I may say so, but I daresay she’d be quite a woman in the end, Sir. They left two days ago and said they’d be heading south by now.”

    Two hours later in that tavern, and Darcy was saying, half to his drink and half to Bingley. “I should have been there.” He took a draught. “There was something of her I quite liked.”

    He’d not told Bingley, or anyone, of his offer to her. The one she so violently rejected. But perhaps her seeing Pemberley would have made a difference. His feelings hadn’t changed. Perhaps hers had. Perhaps he’d never know.

    “I should have been there,” he repeated.

    Bingley said, “Better luck next time, Darcy.”

    “Next time?” Darcy said. But he said no more and finished his port.

    At the Lambton Tavern, 244 words by @JPGarlandAuthor

    1. I love how elegantly you used Pride & Prejudice here–I didn’t figure it out until you named Elizabeth Bennet!

  2. Smoke Screens

    No matter how dark the night gets, it is never as murky as the hearts of a few. I hope its just a few. Dané Loveridge thought otherwise. That led he/they to hire me to offer one other level of protection when she next appeared at the Coleville Public Library to read stories to children.

    “There may be police there,” Dané said. “And definitely the demonstrators will congregate. I just want one added piece of insurance who will totally be on my side.”

    I’d been following the news, the uptick in campaigns against drag artists reading to kids. The protests were escalating around the country, some with violent acts, violent words, threats and the like.

    It seemed that we had not travelled far from those ugly days of yore.

    I was happy to take the gig. Might have even done it for a reduced rate but Dané was high profile and a successful performer.

    And the Private Eye biz had been slow.

    Anyways, I had amends to make. Not to Dané, but to Walter.

    Years earlier, high school days, Walter Crane had been one of those kids who was simply different. And he paid a terrible price. Occasional beatings, pushing and shoving, scorn from a number of his punitive peers. I should have been there for him but failed that first really significant ethical challenge in my life. Maybe I couldn’t be held responsible for that lapse in courage.

    Maybe he wouldn’t have hung himself.




    250 words

    1. I loved using the prompt in revealing the full weight of a piece that had menace from the first line.

  3. The pub’s memorial wall drew Kin as the Hard Target team settled at the bar. His gaze lingered on one photo that looked brand-new in its plain black frame.

    Dougal. He sought out the bartender. “When, Callie?”

    With a face that stated he’d seen it all, Callie lifted a pint glass in a solemn salute.

    “A couple months gone now. Didja not know?”

    Kin shook his head.

    Loch appeared beside him and explained. “Deployment. What happened?”

    Kin needed to know but he couldn’t force himself to ask. Dougal. His brother-in-arns since they’d been wee scalawags playing war. They’d enlisted, trained, and fought in the SAS together. Then they came home. And Dougal changed.

    Two years since Kin had spoken to him. Guilt flooded him.

    “Where did they put him?” Kin asked.

    “He hadn’t paid rent. The landlord went to collect.” The bartender answered Loch first. “Dougal’d been passed at least a week, weapon still in his hand. Tayport. His sister’s doin’. She tried.” He swept the room with one hand. “We all tried. He shut us out.” He poured three glasses of Glen Fiddish and pushed two across the bar to Kin and Loch. They raised their glasses to the portraits then drank. Glasses clunked on the bar

    Kin continued to stare at the photograph. His voice was strangled as he forced out words. “I should have been there.”

    The next morning, Kin drove to Tayport, where the River Tay introduced itself to the North Sea. He didn’t go alone.
    250 Hard Target: Crossfire WIP words

  4. Barrett closed the door, taking a deep breath. What the hell had set her off? They tried to think over the conversation to figure out the trigger as they cleaned up the last of the goodies in the gift basket. They’d been talking about hair when she’d shut down. She said it was something from being in the military, but Barrett thought the folks mostly got their hair shaved off. Did it work for women, too?

    They shook their head as they returned to their bedroom and changed into jeans, a t-shirt that read Montana Pride with a rainbow moose on it, and a cute pair of black flats. They gathered their hair at the base of their neck and braided the tail to hang against their back. A simple pair of small gold hoops went into their ears as the shower shut off, and they realized Emily’s clothes remained on the couch.


    They trotted into the great room and gathered up her things before returning to the bath in the hall. They knocked on the door.

    “I have your clothes here if you need them.”

    “Yeah, thanks. I didn’t bring them in here like I should have.”

    “Been there, done that, forgot the t-shirt.” Barrett grinned as Emily opened the door wrapped in her towel, hoping she wouldn’t notice as they took in her sexy form. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been with my all-together not all together. It could make a person blush.”

    249 ineligible #Sirens words

    1. I am very intrigued by Barrett and Emily. As a fan of character descriptions, I especially love how naturally the detailed description in the second paragraph flows.
      Also, you’re the only one who broke up the prompt, which is always fun to see.

  5. “Hey, did you hear about the cathedral?”

    The first sentry raised their chin toward their partner.

    “Yeah! Who hasn’t?”

    “I haven’t,” a feminine third voice chimed in.

    The sentries’ heavy armor almost covered their startled jumps. Almost.

    “Lorelai? What are you doing topside?”

    A buxom dark elf in a fetish nurse uniform pulled herself up onto the sentry platform and draped herself at their feet like a discarded doll.

    “I got bored.” She cocked her head on the ground. “So, about the cathedral?”

    “Oh, uh, they had to seal it. Nobody in or out. I guess some sort of plague broke out inside.”

    Lorelai sat up straight with a frustrated snap of her fingers.

    “Shoot! I should have been there!”

    “I think the clerics can handle it.”

    Lorelai leaned her head against the first sentry’s leg, sending a chill up their spine.

    “I know. But a plague sounds fun! I’m bored with treating injuries.”

    Neither sentry mentioned the unlikelihood of any citizen being subjected to Lorelai’s brand of medicine.

    169 ineligible words

  6. My daughter was graduating university and I should have been there and I would have if I hadn’t been so stupid and trusting. I was meeting my daughter Eileen just before the cermeny. left in plenty of time but I found my gas was low, so I pulled into a gas station off the highway. While paying for my gas a woman approached me asking for some money for something to eat and to pay for her gas. I felt sorry for her and I gave her money from my purse. Driving down the road I checked my console hoping I wouldn’t be late when the man with a gun popped up from the back seat. He told me to pull over and pop my trunk. Opening it I was surprised to find the woman in my trunk. She got out and said, “I did good, Hal?”
    They left me at the side of the road but at least I wasn’t dead, I just wasn’t going to make the graduation ceremony. I flagged a cop car and they were kind enough to drive me to the university after I made a report. Imagine my surprise to find Hal and the woman there standing there watching a graduate. I pulled out my phone and called the police informing them but asking them to wait until after the ceremony so the graduate could have them there good or bad.
    I saw my daughter graduate it was a good day for all.
    249 words

    1. I particularly appreciate the happy ending to this piece and the narrator’s compassion for the carjackers, or at least their grad.

  7. The snake slithered around my neck, its scales soft and dry against my sweaty, sticky skin. I don’t know what it thought I was, but as long as it didn’t think I was food, I was happy. Eventually, it climbed back up into the trees to do whatever enormous snakes did.

    Unfortunately, the guy who’d tied me to the tree didn’t do me the same courtesy.

    He didn’t really do much of anything, really, except be extremely thorough in his knot-tying. He never spoke, he didn’t grunt with effort – hell, I wasn’t sure if he breathed.

    When he was done, he walked away from me and disappeared into the forest, having done his job remarkably well.

    I should know. This was my sixth, no – seventh time she’d left me for dead.

    The first time was after I’d forgotten to bring her the bike she’d wanted for Christmas. She didn’t leave her mom’s side the whole day, and the next day I’d woken up under what felt like every blanket in the house. It wasn’t as good an assassination attempt as leaving me tied to a tree in a forest filled with venomous creatures, but to be fair, she was only seven.

    Each time had gotten more dangerous, more difficult to escape from. This time though – this was her best. I knew she thought I should have been there to see her every morning as she grew up, but she didn’t understand, not yet.

    Still, she was my star pupil.

    249 words

    1. Piling blankets to hiring an impassive professional is quite the escalation; makes me wonder about the in-between attempts!

  8. Matt grabbed at the nearest tree to steady himself only to slip and fall forward, leaving a bloody smear against the white birch. He barely caught himself in the bramble with a grunt, pushing himself to at least sit against the tree in the unfamiliar wood. It took several minutes for his erratic breathing to begin to calm, allowing his guard to drop with eyes shut.

    Another failure.

    Another shot across the bow that missed its mark.

    He slipped off the rune-carved tooth hanging around his neck, tracing his thumb over the smooth surface. Why hadn’t he seen it coming? He should have known to have a backup plan when he decided to turn his back. His carelessness caused someone innocent to pay the price. It was all his fault.


    It was all his father’s fault.

    His fist closed over the necklace, anger boiling into all-consuming rage mixed with grief and guilt. Hot tears stung at the backs of his eyes. “I’m so sorry, mother, I should have been there. I will avenge you.”

    “I don’t think you’ll be avenging anyone bleeding out there.”

    Matt’s head snapped up, reaching for the sword on his hip. The woman before him was formidable looking with dark green eyes and black hair. Reeking of dark magick she was unmistakable. “I know who you are, Dark One. I want no part of you.”

    “Pity, considering I can grant you your desire for vengeance.”

    “At what price?” he snorted.

    The woman grinned. “An alliance.”


    250 #DarkHeir words

  9. Hidden Agenda

    “You should have been there,” she laughed. “They thought they had me at a disadvantage.”

    Her words did not match her laughter. “Start from the beginning,” I urged.

    Still laughing, she tried again.

    “I was in the drive through. Long enough that I had chosen three different meals before I got to the speaker.”

    I nodded.

    “I ordered a Number 2 special, medium.”

    When she saw my eyes narrow she reminded me, “The Chicken Lo Mein with power greens.”

    Again, I nodded.

    “Only they were out of ‘greens’ And Noodles and Chicken.”

    “So your choices were?”

    “Very limited.”

    I rolled my eyes.

    “They told me to pull forward. And when I did, I noticed they had the phone aimed at me. They were recording my reaction hoping to get a rise out of me. Every time I tried for something they’d say ‘We’re out of…’, any one of the ingredients of whatI wanted”

    “Did they have anything?”

    “Teriyaki beef, on rice.”

    “You hate beef. And you always grumble that Teriyaki is nothing more than candied meat.”

    She nodded.

    “So what did you do?”

    “I pulled up my phone showing them that I was not only recording them but streaming their reaction as they filmed mine.”

    “Then what happened?”

    “When they saw the phone. They demanded to speak to my manager.”

    I closed my eyes. “I think you’re right, I should have been there. If I was, I might understand what is so funny,”

    “That’s what I said.”

    247 words, not including the title

    1. I love the build-up to the narrator agreeing that they should have been there to appreciate her story.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.