#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 582

Welcome back to the home of #ThursThreads. Wow. Year 11. Holy smokes! Y’all kept with me past a decade. I’m astounded.

Today is Thursday and that means it’s time to start flashing, like we have for the past 11 years. I had no idea when I started it would keep going! This is Week 582 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 social media handle or email in the post (so we easily notify 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, Bluesky, MeWe, and Mastodon, etc.

Our Judge for Week 582:

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

Facebook | BlueSky |

And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.

The Prompt:

“So what do I do next?”

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!

23 Replies to “#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 582”

  1. The Launch

    The moment had arrived. In his life, Gilbert Gronsky had had so few moments that required that declaration.

    Moments by and large were simply there.

    And then poof.


    His first wedding should have been an exception. It had happened somewhat hallucinogenically as befit the times. He didn’t quite remember it, any of it really, but was fairly certain the pre-ceremony brownies that Stella had baked had impacted him in some way.

    In any case, that long-gone in the history books wedding and his recent nuptials were really the only events in his straight-arrow life that required…a trumpet perhaps.

    And now his book launch.

    And reading.

    In public.

    Well, if anyone showed up.

    The small reading room off the main library space was comfy. He sat at his table, an enlarged photograph of him taken as he sat on the veranda this past summer was to the right of him and several copies of his novel were on the left.

    Miriam was at the entrance with several copies.

    The reading was scheduled for 1:00 pm.

    So far, there were three people in the audience.

    He smiled at the toddler sitting next to his mother who was holding an infant.

    Breast feeding the infant.

    The toddler picked his nose.

    Gilbert looked at Miriam with a wan glare that asked, ‘so, what do I do next?’

    She mouthed something, waved for him to begin.

    The toddler was still at it.


    Book launches, he decided, were a nasty business.

    250 WIP


  2. I know a secret. something astounding, but I assure you all of what I’m about to tell you is true.
    Working for three months as Senior Game programmer for a new game that would rival the SIMS.; I felt we had designed the most realistic, characters ever. Their lives were rich, full and surpassed those who really lived.; people would be begging to play our game.
    I stepped out of my office and absent-mindedly stepped into the corridor that was supposed to be empty on our floor. Seeing a flash, I heard voices. They thought I was their new boss and showed me the programming they were working on. I thought it was video surveillance; but it was my co-workers were in the program living out their days. Having no close contacts in that program, I could stay here, I reasoned as their boss.
    “Could you get Mehul? We need to tweak this program,” one of them demanded.
    I went down the hall, they pointed to, there was a another flash and I heard voices again and saw more programmers this time fleshing out those people I’d just seen. This happened for the entire day over and over again, seeing new worlds, new games, that I was always a part of. Finally in this last world they swore me to secrecy; Shouldn’t the world get to know what’s real and what is not? So, I’m asking you if you’re reading this, what do I do next? Should I tell everyone?
    250 Words

  3. “So, what do I do next?” The king seemed uncharacteristically nervous, readjusting his position on his throne.

    “I don’t know. But whatever you do, can you make sure it’s natural?”
    Claris flitted around him, holding her camera up to her eye. She was looking at him but not seeing him at all. He was a collection of shapes, subtle shadows, and irregular textures.

    “It’s difficult,” she said. “I don’t want to influence you. I don’t want to make you seem like something you’re not.”

    She studied the light falling onto him. He looked uncomfortable, and he was tense. There was a yearning about his face that didn’t sit well with how she thought he would be. She knew she had her prejudices about him; that was inevitable. But she also had a job to do. She was being paid to create a piece of art, but there were other people’s expectations to consider. She preferred to be given a more prescriptive brief of what her client expected from her, a sense of what they wanted to see, rather than what she actually saw.

    There would only be one sitting – he was too busy to give her more time. She would need to rely on her preliminary sketches, the camera only useful for when she was filling in background detail.

    Having a vampire for a monarch was difficult at the best of times. It was virtually impossible when he was incredibly vain and hoping for a reason to punish her.

    250 words – twothirdzrasta.blogspot.com

  4. Shannon glanced up when no one spoke. “So what do I do next?”

    Fiona looked at Bridget, who looked at Sophie. In turn, Sophie looked at Maura, who threw up her hands. “Don’t look at me. I’m no expert.”

    “What about Ronan?” the other women insisted simultaneously.

    “What about Ronan? We aren’t dating. We’re not even friends.” She held up a finger, glowering at the four. In her best courtroom summation voice, she launched into the internal debate she’d been having all evening. “Ronan is what a psychologist would call an alpha male. He is also a control freak.” And a criminal mastermind, but she didn’t speak that part aloud. “He appeared in my life, decided I belonged to him, and here I sit. I had no input and he did not ask my opinion nor my permission to take over said life.” She focused on Shannon. “From my observations, Mick is a mini-Ronan. He is, for all intents and purposes, also an alpha male. If this was a wolf pack, he would be the beta male. As we all know, he is Ronan’s right hand, as well as his brother. He does not appear to be a man who cannot make up his mind.”

    That statement got a round of nods and murmuring agreement.

    “I don’t want to be brutal here, Shannon, because I know you think you love him, but if it were me? I’d walk away.”

    There it was. The stark truth staring Shannon in the eye.
    250 Moonstruck Mafia WIP words

  5. Anna tilted her head. “You think so? What kind of pleasure is your brand?”

    She stared at me frankly, her gaze unwavering, as if she challenged me to tell the truth. It was my habit to do so in all things, but the last thing I wanted was to scare her away. I knew who she was at her core, but if she’d been born into a human body this life, she might have human proclivities. And some humans didn’t like bondage and restraints.

    “My brand is dominance and submission.”

    “Are you the dominant or the submissive?” She popped a grape into her mouth and chewed with a little challenging smirk to show me she teased.

    I growled more then chuckled. “I’ll be your Dom, little bird.”

    The endearment knocked me sideways—it’s what I’d called Quetzalcoatl when we’d been together, but Anna didn’t react other than to laugh.

    “Oh good, because I’m submissive in the bedroom.”

    “But not in your waking life?”

    She shrugged without answering and finished her meal. I’d press her later on always answering and telling the truth, but we were simply feeling each other out at the moment and I didn’t want to end this before it began.

    “Have you eaten enough?” I wanted for her to nod before I grasped her plate. “Good, then we’re ready to start.”

    She nodded. “So, what do I do?”

    “Next, I show you the toys and we negotiate which and how much you’re willing to take.”

    248 ineligible #ConcreteAngelsMC words

    1. Fun way to break the prompt! Also, I love the scenario with past lives and Quetzalcoatl specifically. The interplay between your characters is always rich and exciting.

  6. ‘So what do I do now?’ She stared at me expectantly.
    ‘You’re not asking the best person here.’ I sat on the chair opposite her. My hands landed on my lap, right hand over left just like hers. We both noticed so I ran one through my unruly hair as I tried to pretend it hadn’t happened. The weight of everything started to sit heavily in my mind again, causing my chest to tighten.
    I knew Ben had meant well but the phrase a problem shared did not apply in all situations. In this case, I’m pretty sure the problem was doubled.
    ‘I’m going to talk to Ben.’ I stood up but paused as looked sidewards. ‘What?’
    ‘You mean see how you can get rid of me. I can leave if you want. You’ll never see me again.’
    My eyebrows raised of my own accord. ‘Oh really, fend for yourself? How well do you think that will work. I know you remember, you wouldn’t last two minutes before the vastness of all of the change and choice sends you screaming and rocking in a corner.’
    ‘You’re pretty mean aren’t you.’
    ‘Only to you.’ I shook my head as I left the room and leaned back against the door. Ben was waiting sheepishly down the hall. ‘Everything that’s going on, what were you thinking?’
    ‘I thought two heads…’
    ‘Ben, you invoked a doppelganger of me. Do you realise how many literal levels of hell you’ve landed us in?’

    247 words @Lexikonical

  7. Sunshine woke as the sun rose, the voice of Merlin the dragon echoed in her mind, “You will never find what you seek outside.” She shook her head to clear the voice from her thoughts, and once more asked herself, “So what do I do next?”

    Her stomach growled at her. “Oh.”

    There had been a time when she would not have asked the wild magic to make food for her to eat. But also, there had been a time when she believed the wild magic was wild magic and not a zillion invisible, tiny machines that manipulated matter at the atomic and even subatomic level.

    Hell, she still didn’t even know what that meant. “Someday I’ll have to ask them to explain.”

    The weather where she was had become noticeably warmer than the weather in the northern forest, where she lived with Mystica, and her adopted daughters. She decided she wanted something to drink, and some fruit to eat. As a joke, she waved her hands, and said, “Mumbo, jumbo, apple, banana, and a glass of water, Kazam!”

    She thought she heard the machines laughing, but an apple, a banana, and a glass of water all appeared on a flat spot on the ground.

    “Wild magic, right?”

    “Wild magic,” the machines answered.

    “Some day I will ask you how you do this.”

    “Some day we will try to answer.”

    After her light meal, Sunshine took to the sky. She flew southward, out of the mountains.

    246 Words

    1. The nurse steps outside the isolation room and takes off her mask. It leaves red, angry welts; they never really faded, even in the faux-innocent summer that had just passed, where everyone pretended the previous two years never happened. Despite not wearing a mask for months, she’d still had the faintest of indents on her cheeks.

      And now, when she leans against the patient room door and pulls her mask off the marks are back with a vengeance.

      Breathing freely, mere feet from the beeping and wheezing of the machines just inside, she knows she shouldn’t have left. But she simply couldn’t stand another moment with the patient. “It’s just a cold, you commie!” was his latest insult. She prefers it over the previous one, which was a string of anti semitic remarks and government conspiracies.

      A voice startles her, “Excuse me?”

      She stands up, suddenly at attention.

      A student waits nearby. She holds up a canister full of fluid that the nurse doesn’t want to focus too hard on. “So what do I do next?”

      “Put it in the dirty hold with all the others,” the nurse replies with a wane smile. “I’ll show you what to do with them when I’m on my break.”

      The student hesitates before asking, “Do I have to go back in there?” She glances towards the room.

      The nurse smiles, wider this time. “No. One of us should get a break. Go take one. You deserve it.”

      The student’s face betrays her relief. She strips off her PPE and leaves the unit.

      The patient inside the room begins to cough. An alarm sounds. The nurse puts her mask back on, and opens the door. The plastic and metal hurt her nose. She ignores it, and goes back to her job.

      297 words.

  8. Beating Around the Bush

    “Ideally, this will take 20 to 30 minutes.”

    “Then why did you schedule two hours?”

    “Because you and I both know that the situation is never ideal, and you have to adapt.”

    “But you gave me a checklist.”

    “Yeah, but checklists are good for keeping things on track.”

    “Don’t you just do things by the numbers?

    “Son, this is not painted by numbers kit. The outcome is not a set pattern, every reaction, every result can change the direction you’re following.

    “Then why have the list?”

    “Think of it as a security blanket. It is there to help you.”

    “Help me what?”

    “At least look like you know what you’re doing.”


    “First step, Identify. State who you are, Verify: who they are, make sure you have the right list.”

    “What happens if they aren’t who I thought they were?”

    Then you move on to the next call, and reset the list.”

    “Okay, so I’ve identified myself, and verified that they are who I thought they were.”

    “That’s better than a lot of marriages I know.”

    “So what do I do next?”

    “What does the list say?”

    “Ask them what they’re looking for?”

    “What if they have a list?”

    “Well, you can compare lists, but again, your list and theirs aren’t always going to line up.”

    “But if it’s not a list–then what is it?”

    “A decision tree.”

    “Can’t I just ask if they’ll marry me?”

    “You can, but you’ll need to be prepared for disappointment.”

    245 words not including the title
    @mishmhem (pretty much everywhere)

  9. I’ve watched my brothers struggle with their student loan payments. The young lady training with me tonight decided selling her soul to The One True Death was the easy way out.

    “So what do I do next?”

    “Check your list.”

    She consults the tablet in her hand, as our horses land outside the small town nursing home.

    “Okay. He’s 102, widowed, and in room seventeen.”

    Easy enough. We walk inside, completely invisible to everyone except Mr. Peterson. He’s in his recliner. Oof. It’s less fun for the staff when they pass sitting up.

    “Okay. Introduce yourself, and a quick upward swing will sever his soul and should initiate the reunion with Mrs. Peterson.”

    She smiles and holds her scythe in front of her.

    “Try not to look so threatening,” I tell her, easing the scythe back a bit.

    “I’m Sadie and I’m here to take your soul!”

    Mr. Peterson’s eyes widen in alarm. I put a hand on her shoulder.

    “She’s a trainee,” I say. “We’re here to escort you to your afterlife, Mr. Peterson.”

    “Oh thank god.” He puts a hand on his heart. “I thought maybe I was headed—down below,” he whispers.

    Sadie swipes, and a door opens. His wife nearly knocks him down. They walk across together and I turn to Sadie.

    “Not bad. Less threatening and fewer horror movie lines, more kindness,” I say.

    “Sorry. Big fan of Stephen King.”

    We both burst out laughing, heading back to our horses and onto the next crossover.

    250 words

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