Welcome back to the home of Romance that Never Surrenders. Today is a special edition of #ThursThreads, the Yuletide Edition and it rarely happens, so I thought I’d bring back the old holiday badge. It’s also Week 444 of 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 444:
Computer geek, bass player, historical reenactor, and flashfiction writer, Mary Decker.
And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
“She had nothing to gain.”
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 – Yuletide Edition”
The star-cruiser hung above her. Beyond it, Alphadid’s star, its corona a seething disc of fire spreading across fifty-eight degrees of an arc. Her suit’s heat-exchangers were beginning to overload, the temperature of the air wafting across her face already oven-hot. She couldn’t remain here much longer, or she’d be roasted alive.
“Tell me more,” the alien demanded. “About your mother.”
Eleanor choked, the atmosphere burning her sinuses suddenly causing an obstruction, making her flail at the end of her tether.
“She was a formidable woman,” she gasped, drily. “She was the true head of our household. A much-misunderstood icon, in my eyes.”
The Hantorian’s thoughts pulsed again, interleaving with her own. It made her feel nauseated, as though the alien had poured its mind into her head.
“But yet you left her,” it accused. “You saw that she was aging but you still fled into space. Your brothers all had their own careers, so it was right they shouldn’t accept the liability. All four of them are now married, three of them with children. And yet, you’re still unmarried and without child.”
“I’m so sorry,” Eleanor mumbled, realising she had nothing to gain. “I think I ought to withdraw. Colonel Mills isn’t a xenolinguist, but I can help advise. He’s our commander. He should be here to negotiate, I think.”
The alien gave her mind another quick whirl, making her baulk. “Yes,” it said. “Please do. And maybe you two should socialise more; he’s got a doctorate, hasn’t he?”
250 parsecs to Barnards Star ~ twothirdsrasta.blogspot.com
Death Checks its List; Checks it Twice
I was on my third brandy. There was a hint of haze. It was time to flesh out next steps. Mona went to a golden wooden cabinet, opened a drawer, and retrieved something.
“Lovely piece of furniture,” I said. “Oak?”
“Cherrywood. A gift from Helen. I was twelve. I think it was something she wanted. Took me years to use it.”
I pondered her gift-giving mother’s choices as Mona came within my safety zone and handed me a notebook.
“Pretty old school,” I smiled, trying to lighten the mood, knowing it was futile.
“It’s all in the Cloud, too,” she said.
I thought about making a cloud/fog comment but thought better of it. We male luddites need to keep a low profile around women…of interest, not that I thought there was a path forward.
“Good,” I guessed. “That’s a relief.”
She suddenly had that look, my mother had it, that caught-you-with-your-hand-in-the-cookie-jar look.
I opened the notebook, looked at the names of Helen’s lovers, her blackmail pigeons.
A few jumped out.
“You’ve seen the names?” I asked”
“This one?” I asked, trying to show it to her from a distance.
She leaned in. “Yes”
“Your sugar daddies’ wife?”
“Yes. But Effie…she and Helen, it was years ago. She had nothing to gain by Helen’s death.”
“You were schupting her hubby.”
That got a smile.
“Trust me,” she said, “At best, Irv…grunts. He definitely does not schupt!”
“She says she had nothing to gain by killing her father.” Arms crossed, I meet Valmong’s eyes, determined not to let his sour expression get to me.
“And you trust her?” His eyes dart to the door, where I’m sure Nevari is listening intently on the other side.
“Yes.” Despite Valmong’s clear apprehension about the girl, my gut tells me she’s sincere. And my gut has gotten me this far, so why start doubting it now? “The same way I trust you.”
“Ah yes, because I’ve always been so trustworthy.” He runs a hand through his hair, frustration clear in the gesture. “Or did you forget-”
“That you’ve stabbed me in the back before? No, of course not.” I try to be casual about it, but of course it still stings. He has the good sense to look guilty, at least. “And look, it worked out. So I’d say my judgment has been solid so far.”
He doesn’t have a response for that, eyes narrowing at me for a second before he turns to open the door. Nevari nearly stumbles into the room. Valmong catches her by the arm and in a swift movement cuts the rope binding her wrists.
“If you try anything-”
“I won’t.” Nevari straightens up.
Valmong leaves the room with a final glance at me.
I try to smile at Nevari. “You’ll get used to him.”
230 #TeamRPG words
I walked into my apartment stopping dead in surprise, around before me a magical Christmas had appeared. The scent of blue spruce filled my nostrils, as well as the scent of clementines, cloves and peppermint and the remembrance of hard candies. The tree had gifts labelled below it to me from Mrs. Claus. I couldn’t help it I began sobbing this year had been the worst of my life. My boyfriend had taken a job in another city and was stuck there because of Covid and I had used the last of my money to buy food and pay the rent. Because of Covid I was planning on eating macaroni for Christmas dinner alone. I found a small stuffed turkey breast with all the fixings in my fridge. I don’t know who my secret Mrs Claus was or how she did this for she had nothing to gain except she made my Christmas so I thank her with all my heart. @SweetSheil 157words
Pulling in a breath, I reach my arms overhead and stretch, palms together, bringing them down on the exhale. There’s something invigorating about doing yoga on a mountain. The cold air seeping into my lungs, my muscles stretching with a hint of resistance before they warm up.
I breathe in and out, relaxing, cooling down from the workout. For a second, I drop my concentration and let the wind wick the sweat from my body. Shivering, I still the air, finally opening my eyes, looking to the areas far below the mountains, reflecting.
Not all of us immortals are good people. There’s one named Beatrice and she controls the Earth. Her temper is legendary and when she gets mad, fault lines move. A few years ago, she put her finger on one only she knows exists.
She shook parts of the Midwest as hard as she could. She claims she was proving a point about the damage being done to the planet. I say she was bored, and she had nothing to gain from her actions. I get bored, too, but I play with the weather where no one lives.
Breathing out, I stir up the atmosphere. The snow starts falling gently at first, then faster and faster until blizzard warnings are in full effect well into the night. Beatrice gets trapped in a well-timed gust of wind, buried in a drift where no one will find her. The mountain trembles; payment received.
“Curses—the wizard has absconded through a gate,” Nyarlathotep expounded, gripping Rilpu’s hand and pulling her away from the crowded market. “We’ll not have much luck summoning Han in this arid place. Let us make for colder climes. I know an evergreen realm sure to bring a shiver to the bones. T’ is a place of frost and mittens where we can sit by a crackling fireplace and sip hot cocoa from festive mugs while planning our next move.”
Rilpu loved being in Nyarlathotep’s presence, but her practical side admonished her that she had nothing to gain by remaining with the notorious Cosmic Trickster. However, Nyarlathotep had given her far more than shimmering baubles and small gifts nestled in glitter-sprinkled wrapping paper. He could have used her secret desire for love against her, but he had behaved nobly, treating her as a sister. Rilpu believed that she could trust him.
I got here on time this week! This piece is 250 words and is doomed to become part of my WIP, The Key of Eidolon. I’m @ReadersRoost (although I don’t do DMs) or email@example.com
Bianca set her kettle on to boil as she put away her vegetables and thought about the men who approached her at the farmer’s market.
The huge one named Mason seemed friendly and had to help his older friend along. Despite his reticence, she’d liked the look of Captain Shandor Halmi more than she wanted to admit. With deep brown eyes and silver at his temples, he definitely brought back her Mel Gibson fantasy from the last Mad Max movie with Tina Turner. But just because he was beautiful didn’t mean she wanted to spend time alone with him. Beauty could hide monsters as she’d learned the hard way with her ex-husband.
The kettle whistled and she poured herself a cup of peppermint tea. She had nothing to gain by getting together with another man. Yes, it had been six years since she’d been in a relationship, but this was the first time she’d had an adventure that didn’t include someone else. She didn’t want help – she didn’t need it – and she was glad to be alone.
Most of the time.
The nights were sometimes lonely, and she liked to share meals with people. Having a friend around would be nice, too.
Before she got too maudlin, her phone rang.
“Hey, Mom. How are you doing?”
A smile curled her lips. “Izzy! I’m good. How are you?”
“I’m pretty good. I have a new roommate who knows the guys in the Blue Man Group and got us tickets.”
249 ineligible #ElementalHearts words
The two cops stared at the wreckage, eyes flinty, breath ghosting every time they exhaled.
“I don’t get it, Don.” the taller of the two said.
His partner shrugged. “She did it, though, Dash. I mean that Ring Doorbell video is plain as day.”
“But she had nothing to gain.”
“Guess we should ask her.”
Officer Dash glanced toward their patrol car, windows fogged from the clash of frigid air outside and blasting heater inside. “Can’t we just turn her lose? I mean, it is Christmas Eve.”
“True. The judge is home all snug in his bed so there’d be no bail until the day after.”
They stared at each other, avoiding looking at the carnage at their feet. “We know where she lives and it’s not like she can just disappear up the chimney or something,” Dash finally said. “I mean, seriously, isn’t it bad enough that she’ll be on the naughty list for eternity?”
Trudging to their squad car, they peered in. “Miz Rudolph,” Don began.
“It was an accident,” the rosy-cheeked woman exclaimed.
“That’s not what it’s looking like, ma’am. You ran the light.”
“You know what it’s like this time of year.”
Dash scratched his forehead. “Stressful time for all of us, for sure, but…” He trailed off, glancing back over his shoulder. “The reindeer? And sleigh?”
A man in a red suit ran out of a house, jumped in the sleigh and took off, calling out, “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.”
250 barely squeaked-in silly words
The soft and gentle crystalline crunch of powdered snow under boot was like the world holding its breath. Melody raised both mittened hands to her chest and marveled at blending auroras in the starlit sky above and joyfully adorned buildings of the small village around her. When Cat convinced Melody to walk into The Maelstrom, she never imagined finding such peaceful beauty on the other side.
“Looks like Captain was right; this is your kind of place!” Lute laughed at Melody’s side.
The priestess shook her head in quiet wonder.
“Do you really think this is another world?”
“Sure seems like one to me!”
Lute skipped ahead to spin playfully in the snowy street, her fur trimmed red velvet minidress flaring suggestively around her. Melody sighed, her thick breath clouds reinforcing the pronounced differences between her friend’s physiology and Melody’s own. Even with the glorious serenity of their surroundings kindling a warmth in Melody’s heart, she was glad to be bundled in her full winter robe. With the hood up.
“Where is the captain?” Melody realized the absence from their party.
The succubus glanced around before shrugging. “She must have felt she had nothing to gain here.”
“Then how will we get back?”
A euphonic symphony of sleighbells preceded eight elegant reindeer pulling up alongside the women with a gorgeous red sled in tow. The full-figured lively sleigh driver laughed heartily, beckoning Melody and Lute to join him. Lute smiled.
“I think she left us in good hands.”
248 Cat’s The Pajamas words
Sleigh bells ring …
“Why won’t you listen?”
“Look at the land, the snow is glistening.”
Masks are on, while Karens aspire.
She shakes her head. She had nothing to gain—arguing.
Stuck in a Covid winterland!
Much peace and love to all!
#ThursThreads Yuletide Edition is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope to catch you next week for the New Year’s Edition.