Thursday, February 9, 2012

#ThursThreads - The Challenge that Ties Tales Together - Week Nine

It's Thursday, so what should you be doing? Writing #FlashFiction, that's what! Welcome to Week Nine of #ThursThreads. It also happens to be my daughter's birthday, so cake and ice cream all around! But moving on to the challenge.

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.
Rules to the Game:
  • This is a Flash Fiction challenge, which means your story must be a minimum of 100 words, maximum of 250.
  • 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 (or be excluded from judging)
  • Include your Twitter handle or email (so we know how to find you)
  • The challenge is open 7 AM to 7 PM Pacific 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, and Google Plus

Our Judge for Week Nine:

The writer of wizards, werewolves, and wicked-ass women, Shannan Albright.

And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.

The Prompt:

"They expected to find their own personal nirvana."

Away with you, Flash Fiction Fanatics, and show us your #ThursThread. Good luck! :)


  1. "How many bodies are there?"

    "Three in this room, two in the other - that makes five, unless some are hidden somewhere."

    "I doubt that. This is all very much out in the open. Are the other two the same as these three: fresh evidence of drug use, suicide notes and self-inflicted gunshot wounds?"

    "The same. They start drugs to escape reality and the high gives them a temporary false euphoria. Then they wake up to the reality that they're addicted and they feel worse despair than what they were trying to escape. Ultimately, they decide on a final, complete escape from addiction and life."

    "Drugs and suicide: they expected to find their own personal nirvana. Instead, they found their own personal Cobain."

    122 Words

  2. All those people there! I guess they expected to find their own personal Nirvana. I myself had never heard of this group. Something grundgy someone had said but I didn’t know what they meant. Well, if they meant stinky, unwashed folks, then yeah, I figured out what they meant. Lots of pot smoke was in the air, too. Not that it was a bad thing, but I was years out of that kind of stuff. Anyhow, the whole thing was not meant to be. A wave of low voices came at me. All I could make out was, “Kurt’s dead.”

    word count 100

  3. When he was a young man, he wanted desperately to become a Shaolin monk. These fearless, mystic men would sit for hours meditating, opening their minds and allowing their thoughts to stream into a state far higher than normal consciousness. There they expected to find their own personal nirvana, and no scientist or scholar could deny whether they would reach their destinations. They did not concern themselves with modern societal problems. Rather they focused their energies on understanding their existence within the universe and bettering themselves constantly through mental and physical training.

    He had begun to study martial arts at the age of twelve, and while he learned valuable lessons in self-defense and realized increased focus, balance, agility, and strength, he knew that the Americanized karate was trifling compared to that practiced by those monks in China in their gamboge robes. In his teens he discovered a man who taught him kung fu, although even that barely scratched the surface. And in college, he began to study Asian cultures and philosophies, finding Taoism and Buddhism to be much to his liking.

    However, despite his lifelong desire, he knew that his dreams of joining the monastery and finding that type of nirvana would never come true. He was a Caucasian 34-year-old man who had been born in the United States, raised on fast food and soda pop, surrounded by a culture that only cared about which celebrity dated who and when the prices of fuel would recede.

    246 words

  4. Our horses would go no closer, the smell of decay too strong. Sam and I stepped down and proceeded on foot. He handed me a kerchief to mask some of the smell. All around us, corpses lay where they had fallen. No one had moved them; they had all died too swiftly for proper burial. The disease struck with the terrible precision of an expensive timepiece. First, a sniffle here and there, body aches, then dead in twelve hours. No more, no less.

    “They expected to find their own personal nirvana,” Sam croaked beside me. Waynesbridge was a new town. Flowers bloomed from painted window baskets. The hitching posts were new. Somewhere was the crisp tang of newly-sawn wood; however, even I couldn’t find it under the fetor. Magic could only enhance the senses so much. These people had come here to realize Waynesbridge’s promise of wealth and a new start. They had not found their earthly paradise. In this town, with its clear, lazy river and tall grass, they had found only death.

    I pushed open yet another door to yet another building, expecting to see yet more remains. To my surprise, I found the bore of a filigreed rifle staring me right in the face. At my sides, I opened my hands wide, holding them away from my guns. “How about we talk first, shoot later?” I asked the woman as evenly as I could manage, given the circumstances.

    She pulled the trigger.

    1. Grrr... I blame the blood draw this morning! Such a dope.

      245 words

  5. When the people on the mountain gave up their phones and electricity and connections to modern life, they expected to find their own personal nirvana. Not in the vague sense of finding an idyllic paradise, but in the literal sense of being free from suffering -- to blow out the fires of greed and delusion, to cast off the shackles of materialism and empty culture.

    Then, one frigid night, the ice storm blew down the mountain, reaching down chimneys, under doors, through the frosted cracks of the windows. The mountain pass vanished beneath an endless white plain. The food stores dwindled. Life shrank to huddled bodies, tiny candles in the dark, waiting for sunrise.

    The fires blew out. The people were free from suffering.

    123 words

  6. The cop looked over the scene and bit back unshed tears. The room was filled with bodies young and old. Seeing Jonestown and Waco, he had hoped that this would never happen again.
    “What makes anyone think this is okay?” he asked the coroner.
    “I don’t pretend to understand any of this but they expected to find their own personal nirvana. We should stake them before they turn.”
    “Yes I guess, we should.” the cop answered.
    They raised the stakes and each body turned to dust.
    “It’s done.”
    “Yes just another day in the life of a vampire slayer cop
    100 words

  7. "So you're saying the person doing all of this is a child of Lilith?"

    "I pray that I am wrong." La Bruja crossed herself. "The Lilin would bring barrenness and miscarriages; so far we have been blessed with fertility.

    "It's obvious though that her recent victims were seduced by her offer of power. No doubt, they expected to find their own personal nirvana. You realize, of course, the four council members have been wrangling over territory for years. The balance of influence has remained about the same until recently. With her assistance, the one she chose could easily take over Folmun. The others would be powerless to stop him."

    "How am I supposed to stop her, if they couldn't?"

    "You must face her when she is at her weakest, call her by name and kill her with these."

    "What are they, hollow points?" Lupe rolled the normal looking bullets around in her hand.

    "These explosive rounds were cast in cold iron and layered with silver and cooled in holy water"

    "This sounds like overkill, Abuela."

    La Bruja gazed deep into Lupe's eyes. "Hijita, we are talking about a succubus. She may look like an ordinary woman, but she is a demon of the first order, far more dangerous than a common vampire is. No hay tal cosa… There is no such thing as overkill."

    224 Words
    #WIP500 #NaNoWriMo

  8. Kidnapped

    Professor Remius drew up to his full height and decided it was time to put the politically acceptable rationales behind, “The 13 colonies failed because they were populated, top to bottom, with fools.”
    The blond boy in the front row raised his hand. Professor Remius put down his stylus and sighed, “Yes, Mr. Newburry?”
    “I beg your pardon, Professor, but my great-grandfather was…”
    “Yes, yes. I’m sure you believe he was no fool. Being related of course is not in any way a bias, is it?” Professor Remius smiled. “What I mean to say, is that the HOW of the colonies’s failures - starvation, navigation, insurrection, infertility, environmental poisoning - was not as crucial as the WHY of failure.”
    “Sir? The blond boy looked confused.
    “The colonists of the 13 ships were given complete freedom. They were released into space with the idea that they could start their society anew, fresh and untainted. As a result, they expected to find their own personal nirvana.”
    “And they didn’t…”
    “No. They did not. They were invariably smothered in infancy by their own strict homogeneity, though with a few colonies it takes some digging to discover the connection.”
    “Professor… if all 13 colonies failed, then why would the colonists from the 14th expedition agree to go at all?”
    “That is a very good question, Mr. Newburry. And a very interesting story, because despite what you’ve been taught… they didn’t have a choice.”

    238 Words

  9. I climbed aboard the ship alone, turning to offer a hand to the man behind me. I found my meager prize crew rowing steadily back to the Ellen Austin.

    “I cannot sail this ship alone, you ass!” I shouted to their captain.

    He flicked a mocking salute. The Ellen Austin raised her sails. I gripped the deck rail and hung my head, focusing on the carved wood. We only wanted to be free. A shiver set the hairs on my neck and arms on edge. The same words repeated all over, gouged roughly into weathered boards, rails, and masts.

    Did my ship—the one I’d returned to this forsaken place for—look like this now? Abandoned and lifeless with only the obsessive carvings of madmen to give her meaning?

    “Where did you go?” I asked softly. “Why did you leave?”

    “They expected to find their own personal nirvana,” a woman’s voice said.

    I whipped around with a shout, seeing no one.

    “A ship of fools, not understanding what they surrendered themselves to.”

    “Where are you?”

    “I warned you to leave this place and never come back,” she said. “And I am here with you, though you should pray you never see me.


    “It will be too late for you then,” she said. The sails climbed the masts, moving by no hand I could see. “I will help you escape—if you help me.”

    “What do you want?”

    “Set me free, Jon,” she said. “I want to go home.”

    249 words

  10. Sue didn’t want to leave her life in the hometown she’d grown up in. Roy’s new job meant saying good-bye to everything and everyone she’d ever known. The way Roy acted, you’d think they expected to find their own personal nirvana. Somehow, she highly doubted it.

    She’d searched through hundreds of real estate listings, trying to find a home she thought they’d be happy in. What she found was a Victorian Queen Anne out in the middle of nowhere.

    They drove for three days. Mapquest indicated they were almost to their destination.

    “Turn right at the next road,” she said.

    Roy turned onto a rocky, dirt entrance. “What was it the real estate agent said about this place?” he asked, looking around at the desolate surroundings.

    “She said it’s been empty for years. I assume it’s because no one wants to live this far from town. No big deal.”

    “I hope you’re right.”

    They rounded a bend and the giant house loomed in front of them.

    “I knew it was big, but this is more than I ever dreamed,” Sue said.

    “Exactly how many kids do you think we’re going to have?”

    Roy pulled the car to a stop. Sue opened her door and took in the view. The flutter of raggedy looking curtains on the second floor caught her eye. She saw an old woman staring back at her.

    “I think I know why this house has been empty.”


    “There’s someone living here—the ghost of a woman.”

    250 Words

  11. Nalafae held tight to Lakestrelandel’s mane. The unicorn magic was the only reason the girl was still alive. She ought to have died centuries ago with her father, Cob. Instead of joining her people, the humans, she had stayed with her brother, Torfel, and then moved to join the unicorns.

    The basilisk near her flicked a forked tongue. “You think thiss wisse?” The snake-like creature held her head as high as the unicorn. “We broke the earth to essscape humans.”

    “Nalafae isn’t human. We made her immortal, one of us.”

    “Asss long as ssshe ssstays with you,” Scathylontasha hissed. “We will go Ssouth again.”

    “Very well. We head North. Fare well, Scathylontasha.”

    They expected to find their own Nirvana, free of hunting humans. Free of the laws set by gryphons and manticore. Nalafae felt a twinge of regret for leaving her brother among the bulk of the humans. He trusted too much.

    Nalafae had never, would never trust humans. They were not her kind. They were merciless killers, treating the magical creatures of the world no better than humans had been treated in the past.

    She couldn’t remember the human ranch she was bred on, her human mother or father. She remembered Cob, who freed the humans and granted them ultimate power as rulers of the world. She remembered Cytersaurcanther and Twigentradendron, both fighters for human rights, both captured and killed. She would never forgive humans.

    236 words

  12. Melantha’s practiced step carried her gracefully over the club floor, heels clicking with purpose, hips swaying and assets well emphasized. The music pulsed with the same bacchanalian desire as the patrons, the lights dim and evocative. Melantha didn’t need the drink, but her presence at the bar gave the newer and less occupied patrons something nice to look at until it was time for her next song.

    They expected to find their own personal nirvana. Melantha gave it to them, along with the anonymity to enjoy it with no thought of consequence. No one could see what happened in the shadowed booths and dark corners of her club. The choir of humanity heard vaguely at most over the rhythm of the club itself. Any tell-tale odors blended into the sweat of the performers and a few carefully chosen incenses.

    She didn’t need to see her patrons to know they were having a good time. Melantha could feel their symphony of fulfillment and desire. It fed her soul, and gave her a high her caramel appletini couldn’t possibly compete with.

    Word on the street was that an exorcist bearing The Sword of God was on her trail. Melantha ran her fingertip around the rim of her glass and considered how best to welcome him. She hoped he would come on a busy night.

    It would be quite the spectacle.

    228 words

  13. Fred leaned back in the chair, working on the ropes that kept her hands behind her. They had rubbed her wrists raw already.

    “What’s the matter, little girl. Can’t magic your way out like the rest of your friends?” The big man grinned as he leaned close to her, blowing toxic breath into her face. “Oh, that’s right, you don’t have any magic to speak off. You’ve bit off more than you can chew this time.” He grinned with nicotine yellow teeth.

    Fred turned her head aside. “I have other skills.”

    “Oh yeah, what’s that? Not being able to escape? Your friends will be picking up the pieces when I’m done.”

    She grimaced before kicking up a foot, catching him between the legs. “No but I know simple self defense. Pretty easy to learn when you know the spots to hit on a guy.” She gave a thin smile as the color faded from his face and he slowly bent over, hands cupped over his groin.

    The bloodcurdling scream on the outside of the room didn’t cause him to look up from his own misery.

    “Sounds like my party is here. This has been fun but I don’t think we should see each other again.”

    “Knock, knock. Rochelle is here, darlings.” The door melted and the tall caramel skinned woman walked into the room. “Don’t worry about your men, they expected to find their own nirvana. But then I dealt with them.”

    242 words

  14. Nora straightened into her human form, digging her bare toes into the gravel. She held her breath and listened, sure she’d hear him making another phone call to the men who’d held her. But only the soft sounds of wind through the pines met her ears.

    Nora shook her head.

    Smart move, bitch. Go wondering off, thinking you could get past the signs and Men In Black to catch that fat buck in Area 51. Now you’re stuck taking charity from that sexy sheriff.

    That might not be too bad, but she still stepped cautiously across the driveway toward the house, sniffing and listening for any signs of danger.

    You’re pathetic, you know.

    But he smells so good, her Sister self whined.

    The last time something smelled “so good”, someone imprisoned us!

    Nora’s Sister wisely kept silent.

    Creeping through the open door, she scanned the interior filled with warm earthen colors. The living room ahead stood still and empty, but sounds of a grill being prepared came from the open doors at the back of the house, through the kitchen. She padded silently to the back porch, spying a birdfeeder full of happy finches and mountain chickadees. Juncos swarmed the ground with mourning doves, as if they expected to find their own personal nirvana in the leavings of their comrades.

    I’d like to find my own personal nirvana that hot, sexy stud cooking the steaks.

    The stud in question turned, raised his barbeque tongs, and winked with a smile.

    249 ineligible #WIP500 words

  15. The misery was so intense it was almost pleasurable.

    Kate had no idea how she had gotten here – this windowless, almost airless place, but there was no escape now. And, to be honest, she did know how she had gotten here and had no one to blame but herself.

    “It’s better than sex,” Chantel had told her. The lying bitch.

    Kate couldn’t believe she had been stupid enough to trust her. And really, better than sex? Ten years of marriage and having three small children constantly underfoot meant sex was more like an episode of that game show “Minute to Win It” than anything else: dump the kids in front of Sponge Bob, run up to the bedroom, lock the door, and race as fast as you could for the finish line. Praying all the while no one needed a juice cup.

    So yeah, “better than sex” wasn’t actually saying much these days. But it had somehow gotten her into this nightmare.

    Glancing around, Kate realized no one was screaming in agony as she longed to. As a matter of fact they all seemed so peaceful, so centered, as if they each expected to find their own personal nirvana.

    The one causing the agony was the most serene of all. It seemed she had found her true calling in making others suffer. Kate didn’t know her name, just thought of her as “Satan.”

    Satan smiled sweetly and spoke:

    “Okay ladies, remember in yoga, we don’t think ‘pain’. We think ‘energy’...”

    249 words (#WIP500)

  16. The scent of leather and cedar surrounds me. I inhale deeply. Amid the quiet I could feel the vibrations of the air in the near cathedral like room accentuated by the diffused lighting falling gently on my treasures.

    The soft click of my heels escalate my heartbeat as I pass my fingers lovingly over each of them. Reds, and blues and metallic side by side, vintage and retro and the latest collection all align my shelves before anyone else's.

    Oh those other women who wait with baited breath outside the seconds sale, they expected to find their own personal nirvana. But theirs could never compete.

    My name is Carrie, and this, this is my shoe closet.

    116 words

    1. We walked down the shooting gallery, holding a picture of her in one hand, rousting addicts while we searched the empty faces, most of them pasty white, trying to avoid the littler of needles and kit on the floor. God knows there were plenty of women her age and size, more women than men. I guess that said something about society, I don't know. When a Captain's daughter disappeared, every one on patrol searched for her.

      We must have spent forty minutes dealing with human debris. More than one tried to stand, offered sex and begged for crack. Yeah, like cops carried the stuff around just for druggies. In a far corner of the dank basement we found one that was a perfect match, almost, and we both squatted down. Ben's flashlight bared long-lost charms, her glazed eyes glowing strangely in the light. She might be the one...

      “She have a tattoo on her right wrist?”

      I Jerked her arm out straight and pushed her sleeve up.

      “Yeah. A pink heart and I Love Dougie.”

      “That's her.”

      I stood her up and threw her over my shoulder. She hardly weighed anything.

      “Who the fuck's Dougie?”

      “Hell if I know. Lets get out of here. This place gives me the creeps.”

      We walked back out, passing the sleeping junkies, avoiding contact. Whatever they had, I didn't want it. They expected to find their own personal nirvana, but all they found was the depths of human misery...

      250 words

  17. Unleashing The Beast

    Dressed in her favorite burgundy cloak with gold witch-hair piping and the hood that hung just right, Saran approached the portal with quiet stride. A simple wall of hieroglyphically written symbols if one didn’t know the secret, a nightmare if you knew only enough to dabble.

    The ancient words to open the gate had been taught to her through fairytale and song by her parents, long since departed. With a POP, the door began to part. Her eyes strained as white light peered back from the other side, laced with the fragrance of honeysuckles and a low moaning aria.

    The Utopia she knew to find within was gone. Magnificent buildings had been reduced to rubble; statues of magical symbols and figures of lore - Destroyed. She found her father petrified at the base of a flight of white marble steps with his wand held out and his final spell still curled upon his lips.

    A tear ran down her cheek and her voice cracked. "I guess this isn’t what they expected to find. Their own personal nirvana in ruins. What the HELL could have happened?”

    “What happened here was exactly what I wanted, child!” A sharp, disdainful voice croaked from behind her. “Peace is a fool’s prayer. That door was a trap to stop me from destroying everything in the mortal world just as I have here. And now that you have released me, I will have my revenge.”

    Saran swung around. “Mother? I thought you were dead.”

    “You first!”

    250 Words - @acenance

  18. #ThursThreads is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and see you next week! :)


Comments are on moderation, so they'll become visible once I've read them. Words, words, words. I love them. Have you a few to lend?

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.