#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 588

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 588 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 588:

Mark Ethridge

Computer IT master, flashfiction writer, and human, Mark Ethridge.

Bluesky | Discord

And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.

The Prompt:

“There has to be someone.”

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 588”

  1. A Memory

    These days it was the shortage of food.
    And housing.
    And war.
    And the virus.
    So many viruses.
    Even the human variety.
    As Gronsky struggled to capture a memory, his memory of what it must have been like for
    children back in the ‘50’s he was cognizant that they had had other worries. Polio was one. Gronsky vaguely remembered that scourge. At least two little kids in the neighbourhood became afflicted. It was a scary time. He remembered being kept indoors. At least it seemed like it was a memory. Whether he was safely hidden away from the polio virus or got it and did not suffer any or many of its horrible infirmities, lungs full of phlegm and a body weaker by the day, the vaccine eventually came, and the illness was fought to a standstill.
    He was becoming aware that there has to be someone close to him now who suffered from that particular ravage. He began to thumb through his imaginary rolodex of names, dredging up ancient voices from the neighbourhood, the long-ago bulldozed schoolyards of his childhood.
    Miriam walked by his desk and asked, “You look so intent…what’s on your mind?”
    He looked up and had no answer, yet one was required. Lovers spoke to each other. Thoughts were shared.
    “I…I’m on a cliff…well, not really, but it feels like that. A writer thing, I suppose. I want to see the past more clearly then I’m able.”
    “You poor dear. You need a hug.”

    250 WIP
    @billmelaterplea

  2. Winston spun in place, his eyes darting like a wild cat. Visibly shaken, the color had drained from his face and his voice waivered. “There has to be someone.”

    I thought I’d heard a murmur. Nothing discernible, but old places often creaked as their bones settled deeper into the earth or their wooden materials shrunk or expanded from moistures around the windows. Could’ve even been voices from the street carried by the wind.

    I peered into the dark bedroom in question. “There’s nothing here, dude. You’ll never sell this house if you scare off all the customers.”

    “No one wants to live here. You know… the stories?”

    “Lots of folks have lived here with no problem.” I was beginning to tire with my subordinate. This house needed to sell yesterday. I gritted my teeth with the understanding I’d probably have to do it myself.

    “You think I’m crazy?”

    I chuckled. “Crazy sells on TV. All you gotta do is smile like your portrait on the lawn and make sure the cupboards aren’t dusty.”

    “They say the demon here eats souls…”

    I laughed both from how ridiculous the idea was and to shake the sensation of walking into cobwebs off my arm as I walked into the space. “You watch too many horror movies, Winston. Don’t you know, you just gotta pop on the light?”

    Winston froze in terror. His panicked eyes became saucers, reflecting a horror at my back.

    “Winston?”

    A tear sprang from his eye. “Better you than me.”

    250 Words @AngoraShade

  3. Winston picked up his mother’s hand. It was cold and inflexible but otherwise intact. It seemed unusual that it wouldn’t work; there were few signs of external damage, although it refused to engage with her diagnostics.

    “I don’t know what else I can do,” he said. “It’s not as though we ever thought we’d need a spare.”

    Connie just tutted. He’d never been able to satisfy her, whatever he did. After reprogramming the twins, they’d been unable to speak anything but Kiswahili, making it necessary for him to download a comprehension patch for the rest of the family so they could all still communicate. He’d often considered revising the settings of his mother’s discriminatory matrix but hesitated, knowing how much worse she could be if he happened to corrupt one of her core parameters.

    And the less said about the state of his father’s brain, the better.

    “There has to be someone else,” Connie suggested, brandishing her stump. “Maybe Nexus Nine could call round and give us his opinion. He’s never been found wanting when no one else has been able to find a solution.”

    Nine was a maverick but still a successful entrepreneur. He’d already had a look at Winston’s father and done his best with him, vaporizing more than half of his motor relays before he’d found a way to limit his silicon senility. He’d also disabled his speech circuits, but that had been by choice, saying it would be better for them all if he remained quiet.

    250 words – twothirdzrasta.blogspot.com

  4. Okay, don’t panic. Throat closing…don’t panic. What the hell did I eat? Shit. Phone, need my phone.
    Press 9911. Shit. 9111. Shit. Focus…911

    “911. How may I direct your call?”

    “Amblanche. Help!”

    “Okay, I didn’t catch that ma’am, how can I assist you? And please, speak more clearly.”

    “Ambwants! Need help! I can’t bwee-“

    “Ma’am, please calm down. How can I assist you? And please, speak more clearly.”

    How can this idiot be so calm, I’m dying here!
    “Can’t…bweet!! Allergee!”

    “Hmmm, let me find someone to assist.”

    I know that voice, that’s the same dude from half my reels. Why the hell is he-

    “911. How may I direct your call?”

    “I…can’t…”
    *gulp*
    “…bweeethe. Hep!”

    “Ma’am, I show that you live at the following address: 825 West Lindmore. Is that correct?”

    “YESSS!”

    “Great. We have many services, police, fire, ambulance, and poison control. Which service do you need?”

    I know that voice too, the other half of my reels. “Speak…to…a…oprato.”

    “Sorry, I didn’t catch that.”

    Christ, there has to be someone. One fucking human being. I’m fucking dying!

    “I nee-”

    “It’s been thirty seconds with no response. We will send a patrol to check on you. Response times vary. Be advised this AI 911-auto response system is here for your convenience.”

    212 Words
    jtganzer@gmail.com

  5. At twilight, two men sat on a park bench. They appeared to be strangers. One wore a tailored suit, starched shirt, and tie. His leather Oxfords shone with a fresh polishing. The other looked rumpled—coffee-stained shirt, wrinkled slacks, sport coat in need of dry cleaning. The thick rubber soles of his scuffed and dull shoes marked him as a working man.

    The sharp dresser held a phone to his ear and spoke, “The boss is not happy.”

    Rumpled-stiltskin shrugged and tossed peanuts into his mouth with stubby fingers. “My boss is takin’ heat too.”

    “So what do you plan to do about it?”

    “Make an arrest.”

    “When?”

    “When we fuckin’ figure out who the perp is.”

    The suit sighed. It was bad enough that a wrong cop was murdered in his employer’s warehouse but to have this lazy one drag his feet on the investigation was frustrating. “It can’t be that hard.”

    “Gotta have evidence to arrest somebody.”

    “Then get some, preferably evidence pointing to Ronan O’Connor.”

    The cop stiffened. “Your boss is stupid to go after him.”

    Putting aside the pretext of a separate conversation on his phone, the suit fixed his cold stare on the cop. “Do you work for Boru’s Wolves or us?”

    “I know who pays my freight but goin’ after the top guy? Still stupid.”

    In a voice as frosted as his gaze, the suit insisted, “There has to be someone.”

    The cop’s flaccid face crumpled into a sly grin. “There is. O’Connor’s brother.”
    ****
    250 Moonstruck Mafia WIP the-plot-thickens words
    @SilverJames_

  6. I heard the bells ring.
    Loud and clear,
    Ringing out the emotions,
    Of this terrible year,
    Bringing in the joy, the love,
    The beauty,
    To all Christendom,
    But not to me,
    The colours were still muted,
    The pain too real,
    The Christmas lights, the decorations,
    Just a reminder of what once was,
    Now gone!
    Then I heard the song,
    From my childhood
    Strangely in my sister’s voice,
    How was that possible?
    There had to be someone,
    Tricking me.
    But as I turned to look,
    Out of the corner of my eye,
    I saw her.
    Her beauty shone,
    As she was in her twenties,
    Blonde hair tumbling down.
    Upon her back,
    I saw wings unfurl,
    As she smiled so sweetly,
    That wonderful smile,
    Then winked at me,
    Before yelling “Merry Christmas.”
    Disappearing before my eyes.
    My heart was lighter,
    My chest filled with joy.
    She left me,
    The greatest gift of all.
    Memories of she and I
    To treasure forevermore.
    @SweetSheil 159 words

  7. “There has to be someone around here who knows—”

    “Maybe I can help?”

    Sean’s heart jumps at the sound of the cheerful voice. Behind him. Wincing, he cautiously turns.

    And blinks.

    Six feet, give or take. Fur-lined, red coat belted around a fit waistline. Fluffy, fake beard over a youthful face with rosy cheeks and twinkling eyes.

    Twinkling.

    Honestly.

    “Someone other than Hot Santa, maybe.” Sean clutches his fireplace poker to his chest. “No offense—”

    “None taken.” He grins, and Sean wishes this situation called for a ridiculously attractive man in a Santa suit. “What’s with the poker?”

    “To… poke things.” Things that should really be dead.

    “I have a gun.” Hot Santa says casually. But his eyes say he’s gauging whether or not he needs to use said gun on Sean. “Bit more formal, as weapons go.”

    “Sure is.” Sean feels a tiny bit faint.

    “Got a badge, too.” Santa lifts his coat hem, revealing both the holster and badge.

    “You’re a cop.” That shield is shinier than any ornament, the dancing Christmas lights reflecting so prettily off its golden surface. “Holy shit, you’re a cop.”

    “Thought this was a false alarm until I spotted you. Blood spatter isn’t the traditional Christmas look.” He reaches out, fingers skimming the sleeve of Sean’s ruined silk shirt. “Who’d you take out at the company party, hm?”

    “Zombies.” There’s inappropriate laughter bubbling in Sean’s throat. “Just… zombies.”

    “More than one?” The cop snorts. Then he really looks at Sean. “Oh. You’re serious.”

    250 unexpected zombie Christmas words

  8. “How did you do it?” the white tiger woman crouched above the elves. “How did you kill the Witch’s oni?”

    Tenko exchanged a glance with her friend, Mana, who shook his head. Tenko sighed and faced their dubious rescuer.

    “I haven’t quite figured that out yet, myself.”

    How did Tenko end up the spokesperson for their party? She hated public speaking.

    “Could you do it again?”

    The tigerling’s tail tip flicked ominously. Tenko had read about white tigerlings, but she’d never seen one. Arashiko was likely the only of their party to face any tigerling at this range without violence.

    “I’d prefer not to find out. We’re trying to reach the northern hills. Nothing more.”

    The woman’s blue eyes penetrated Tenko like ice shards. Exciting and frightening. Her bone and bark armor was completely unlike elfcraft, but she had a strong warrior spirit and undeniable beauty.

    “I could show you the way north. If you kill the Wood Witch.”

    “Impossible!” Lieutenant Sora stepped forward. “The Wood Witch is a powerful immortal!”

    “Aren’t oni also immortal?”

    Tenko considered the tiger woman’s proposal and her question.

    “I think there is a way it could be done. There has to be. Someone would have to get us close to her.”

    “I could do that.”

    The woman grinned hungrily.

    “Why do you want the Wood Witch dead?” Mana also stepped forward. “Isn’t she an ally of the tigerlings?”

    “An ally of the Fire Tribe. My tribe’s sworn enemies.”

    244 Tale of Tenko words
    @DavidALudwig

  9. “Just think how the spiders would react should someone take their supply of vintage silk.” Josten smirked.

    “Oh yeah, that could be bad.” Allira shuddered theatrically. “So why are you at the Dreadstone Tombs?”

    He shrugged. “I saw the horses and wondered what they were doing here. Then I saw you.”

    “And you just had to say hello.”

    He nodded. “Something like that.”

    “Well, then, hello, Josten.” She waved at him, and to her delight, he waved back.

    “Hello. May I join you since you’re just waiting here for…” He frowned a moment and swung his gaze around the clearing. “What are you waiting for?”

    Allira sighed. “The current team of idiots who’ve invaded the Tombs today.” She waved at the gate. “They’re all hot to discover the treasure that’s reputed to be inside—the same treasure no one has found in 70 years since the Dreadstone King was last seen alive—and they needed someone to watch the horses. So I volunteered to stay out here. Still, I should’ve brought a book or something. There has to be someone who brought something to keep me entertained while I wait for them. I should probably go through their saddlebags to see.”

    “Perhaps I could keep you company until they return so you’re not so bored.”

    She raised her eyebrows. “Don’t you have something better to do than sit out here waiting for the young and the clueless?”

    “I can think of nothing better than to chat with you.”

    249 ineligible #WIP words
    @siobhanmuir on bluesky

  10. Touch Down in a Memphis Rain

    Jenna gripped the armrests of her economy seat as the plane descended. Her ears popped as she bounced in her seat. The flight from NYC had not been smooth, but the cost of her staying was higher than she was willing to pay

    Too many lives depended on her making the right decisions and she’d spent the last four hours second-guessing herself. As she joined the other passengers heading out, she stretched out her senses, trying to find a trace of the darkness she’d been chasing.

    She was rewarded with a grey fog as her legs failed to respond. As cable-strong arms eased her back to a seat, she heard a gentle burr to the voice that cut through the roaring in her ears, giving her something to focus on.

    Easy der, darlin,” a voice urged. She looked up, her eyes locking with his. Her vision spiraled through centuries of war and loss reflected in his moss-green eyes.

    She blinked, as her vision pixelated into flashes of light and shadow.

    “You all right?”

    “Visual migraine,” she managed to say, but the words were slow in coming.

    The man’s voice sounded as if she was underwater, as he called out to the Flight attendant. “Best be callin’ a bus for the young lady.”

    “Won’t help,” she whispered, her voice husky.

    “There has to be someone dat can help.”

    She smiled, whether the man meant to be or not– he was that someone.

    245 words (not including title)
    @mishmhem

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.