Thursday, April 19, 2012

#ThursThreads - The Challenge that Ties Tales Together - Week 19

Welcome back to the Weird, the Wild, & the Wicked. Right now it's Thursday, so what should you be doing? Writing #FlashFiction, that's what! Welcome to Week 19 of #ThursThreads, the challenge that ties tales together. 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.
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 19:

The sexy, sensual, spinning fanatic, Beverly Preston.

And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.

The Prompt:

"These vessels are not redeemable."

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


  1. The report stated:

    "Private Quinn received substantial damage to both his respiratory and circulatory systems as a result of the inhaled toxin. We have kept him alive long enough to rebuild his entire respiratory system through the use of our nanosynthetics. The heart has been repaired as well with an indestructible Johnston-Yo pump. Because of this, we will have to replace much of his circulatory system with nanosynth tubes. Many of these vessels are not redeemable anyway. He will feel constant pain, but we’ll control it with the Oxynarco that will be constantly administered through a chemical pump that has been surgically inserted into his abdomen. This is the only way he will live."

    He tossed the three-month old report back onto the table and stared down at his grotesquely swelled body. The muscles bulged and pulsated as if they were composed of burning hot liquid. His teeth and mouth, blackened by the deadly toxin, made his silver-tinted tongue and teeth ever more apparent.

    He felt nothing due to the Oxynarco, yet he was as strong as a bulldozer. These doctors hadn’t intended to create a killing machine, instead only trying to preserve his life, yet that’s apparently what he’d become.

    The doctor eyed him curiously, but he simply stood up, nodded, and walked out. Patients and staff stared at him, yet he ignored them. As he walked into the waiting room, he spotted his wife and daughter.

    “Let’s go get some ice cream,” he said with a silver-tongued smile.

    250 words

  2. I was on a bench in the biggest courtroom I’d ever seen. There must have been a billion of us there. Sitting. To the left of the courtroom the land just ended, falling away. At the rear, there was an ocean of men’s and women’s restrooms. More than I could count. To the right was the prettiest beach I’d ever seen. That beach reached out of sight. I could hear music coming from it. At the front was a single desk. A really old guy was sitting at it. A married couple was in front of the desk, watching the old guy flip through pages of a book. I could hear the old guy say, “Hm...” On either side of the couple were these behemoths. Biggest dudes I’d ever seen. They had wings. Like angels. With body armor, and big damn guns. To the left of the old guy was the CEO of a big company. To the right was a beach bum in a Hawaiian shirt, shorts, and sandals.

    The old guy looked to his right and shook his head. He looked to his left, and nodded. The CEO smiled, and said, “These vessels are not redeemable.” The behemoths picked the couple up, and flew to the cliff. And dropped them.

    They guy at the desk called my name. I stood up. “Oh, shit... This is judgment day, ain’t it... This ain’t gonna be fun...”

    246 words.

  3. "These vessels are not redeemable."

    Zell's heart stopped at the Queen's words. The men who stood before her were hers, the strongest of her ship whom she'd offered up as tribute for the alliance between herself and the planet Miorhark. Her eyes swept over the seven of them: stripped to the waist, bloodied and bruised, barely able to stand. They had been put through Her Majesty's assessment and come out the other side alive. Hell, many of the Queen's own men hadn't come out alive, but Zell knew this was about something more than just suitable men for the royal army. She looked to Prince Thyorian. He avoided her gaze, grimaced. She and the Queen stared at each other, a smirk curling across the older woman's mouth. Oh she though she was clever. Zell took a step forward and Throne, the only member of her crew that wasn't human, gripped her arm.

    "No," he said tightly.

    Her eyebrows quirked. Anger seeped through her. "Just what do you think Her Majesty does with vessels that she believes unredeemable?"

    Throne's arm tightened and the pale scales along his neck and the sides of his face burned red and hot, the only indication that he was experiencing any kind of emotion. "There is another way."

    "These men won't die for my pride." She snatched away, marched herself between her men to where the white tile ended and golden stairs began their ascend to the three thrones.

    "Alright, you win. I'll marry your son."

    250 words

  4. The guards marched us through the woods. My fingers brushed Ryan’s, but I resisted the urge to grab hold and never let go.

    The wild beauty of the world gave way to an unexpected sight. The ground fell away, scooping down into a deep valley. Unlike the rest of this world, technology in abundance rested here. The wreckages of countless ships filled the floor of the valley, sinuous twists and ragged tears of metal twining together.

    “What is this place?” Ryan wore the same expression of shock I felt.

    “I—” I half shrugged with a shake of my head. “I have no idea. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

    The flat of a spearhead smacked against my shoulder.

    “Yeah, okay,” I groused. “I’m going.”

    Ryan bristled but wisely kept anything more overtly challenging to himself.

    We hiked down the valley wall via a well-used trail. Someone—maybe several someones—came to this place regularly enough that nature had not reclaimed the path.

    The ships had been here a long time and up close the ravages of time were readily apparent. Vines climbed over and through the wrecks. Waist high grass and brush seemed to slowly devour the interloping carcasses.

    “Kat, check this out.”

    A weathered plaque stood at the end of the trail.

    Curious, I read the words on the plaque.

    The honorless sons and daughters of the sky have fallen, brought low by pride and treachery. These vessels are not redeemable.

    We live here.

    They die here.

    249 #WIP500 words

  5. The Warrior opens his eyes and sees the world before him once more. Yet it is not the world he has known. The War should have destroyed all of creation, and yet these delicately linked bio-domes preserve a semblance of the life that was. The Archmage has done his work well.

    Shifting in his tomb The Warrior feels the presence of his legion. His soldiers haven’t left his side in all the interminable centuries since The War. Trapped in still cold silence is no way for the mighty to exist. His sword sings for the heat and din of battle. His soul cries for blood.

    How pitiful for the creatures of The Archmage’s shadow world to survive without knowing what life had once been. Little insects carry out the chores of existence without understanding of the finality of that great conflict. Living on the dust left in the wake of oblivion, they have no conception of the void.

    These vessels are not redeemable—and yet there are some with the divine spark of the world that was. The Warrior will join battle with this shadow world that its denizens might know glory before they are forgotten.

    Raising voice and blade, The Warrior shatters his tomb and descends with his legion on The Archmage’s creation.

    214 words

  6. These vessels are not redeemable. It was evident to the science officer, but the captain wasn’t listening. This planet was green lush and capable of growing food, but the animals on it were not intelligent. They showed tendencies of predator creatures, harming one another to get food and shelter. The logic that was needed to change could not be found in them they were no better than apes.
    Looking at them now in the cargo hold Zenth shook his head. They were fighting over the food he had placed in their cage like they hadn’t eaten in a week and the smallest creature was without food. He turned off the alarm and stuck some food through the cage wires to give to the smallest one. The grown female beside the smallest one did something with its face that appeared pleasant. The smallest one ate its fill and then offered some to the older female one. She ate some then hid it her clothing. The small one wiggled this way and that and managed to escape the cage. Zenth was impressed and decided to keep it as pet but the adult female pleaded with her eyes for its return and he was moved enough to return it to her.. The vessels were not redeemable however so Zenth convinced his Captain they were dangerous species and should be returned to planet Earth. Further a warning given to others not to visit. His pet should be safe to live out its life
    249 words

  7. The Devil danced in the darkness of his own shadow. Only he cast one in the face of the Light, a fact which brought him immeasurable amount of perverse pleasure.

    “Look at your creation. See how they reject him?” His joy couldn’t be contained. “See how they revel in the blood! How they laugh with each lick of the weapon in his flesh!” He licked his lips at the sight. Victory was so close. Every beat of the stake in the hands of his enemy was a pulse of life into his coming reign.

    “Listen to their laughter. Hear their jeers.” He closed his eyes, reveling in the sound. When he opened them again he saw the Father turn away, His back to His Son. Darkness covered the whole Earth and he knew. The devil knew, after so many eons, he had won.

    “All your planning was for naught!” he taunted, hand flung toward the crowd at the foot of the cross. “These vessels are not redeemable!” he shouted. “There are no vessels of glory, only vessels of wrath!”

    “It is finished.” The words wafted up from the Mount of Cavalry like sweet incense.

    He bellowed his triumph to the host of angels and demons gathered. Heaven and earth trembled at his voice. Rocks cracked, the ground shook. For three days he celebrated.

    On the third day the earth shook once more. A stone had been moved. The grave was empty. His head was crushed.

    245 words

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  9. Mikhail had watched Mara her whole life. He knew his obsession would be his downfall from the first day he saw her golden brown curls spring around her shoulders as she skipped down a street. And today he would suffer for that weakness.

    Mikhail left his sanctuary for the elders meeting. His people had a plan for the humans and they had failed them. Now the punishment would be proclaimed and Mara would be gone. A foreign twist in Mikhail’s stomach made him falter as he entered the room. His colleagues sat on their white stone thrones in a giant circle.

    “Our investigation into the humans is complete.” Aral’s voice boomed off the stone room. “It is clear that they have chosen emotion over the logic and science we have provided. Their actions have confirmed that these vessels are not redeemable.”

    Mikhail’s breath stuck in his lungs, his heart beat accelerated. He placed his hand on his chest. Was this what the humans felt, he wondered. If this was the emotions the humans fought with every day, he was beginning to understand why they strayed from logic.

    “Mikhail, I sentence every human to death.”

    Mikhail nodded at Aral before forcing his shaking legs to lead him to his chambers. There he watched Mara dancing on the beach at sunset. Her skin lit up under the golden glow of the sun. He closed his eyes and waved his hand over the screen as a single wet drop rolled down his cheek.
    250 Words

  10. Just outside the broken home, screaming can be heard. I duck through the doorway and quietly drift toward the sound of violence. A thunderous boom. “She shot him! Get that gun from—” Two more shots boom. I find my way through the rotted wood and desecrated furnishings, stepping over the splintered wooden door.

    The young girl is wide-eyed, breathing heavily. Across the room are three miscreants, holes in each of their bodies. She holds the shotgun tightly against her trembling body. I approach the corpse and two damaged miscreants. She sees me.

    “Who…? You aren’t human, are you?” She has difficulty finding a place to rest her eyes on my featureless face. She examines my shaggy white robe while I reach down to the miscreants with gangling weathered arms. The rage has overpowered them.

    “These vessels are not redeemable,” The girl cringes at my deep and echoing, yet hollow, voice. I tap their shoulders, sending the miscreant spirits away. I draw my arm out toward her. “You can still be redeemed.” In place of the rags, a pleasant vision appears. A place where the girl can be forever happy. She is drawn toward it, pushing away from the wall.

    “Know this: if you choose to go, you can never return. You will never see anyone again,” I retract my arm. “However, you have the power to restore this world. This journey will not be easy, though. First you must survive it. Tell me, young one: Which will you choose?”

    250 words

    Something told me to continue my story from last week...

  11. On the Good Ship Estrogen

    “I’m not asking for a whole lot here.” Tig leaned on the metal wall, grinding his forehead against a few rivets.

    “These vessels are not redeemable.” The woman’s voice was calm, perfectly even. Why did they always put a woman’s voice to these things? Was it because they were supposed to be logical, but sometimes decided to throw the concept right out the window in feminine abandon?

    “Are they cracked?” he asked. He tried to keep his own timbre polite. Didn’t want her getting flustered. Not now.


    “Are they broken?”


    “Are they watertight?”


    “So… explain to me what the problem would be?”

    “These vessels are not redeemable. They should not be used.”

    “Why not?”

    “They may explode.”

    Tig stared at the wall, sure he could feel a vein in his brain swelling ominously. “April, sweetie?”


    “They're grenades. They’re supposed to explode.” He had asked the ship to make grenades, had given her the recipe for the proper chemical mixture. One would think she would have found issue with them before now, before she had created a dozen of them. Before he was really, really in need of them. “They are right outside the door and they want to kill us. I need those grenades.”

    There was a moment of silence from the small speaker. “Oh.” A polished-wood panel in the wall slid upwards, revealing several small glass and brass eggs, each filled with an amber fluid.

    “Thank you, April. Now I can kick some ass.”

    249 words
    Nance P.

  12. Mira gave a kick to the stupid machine as it cheerfully blinked the negative balance at her. “Give me my money, you stupid thing. I turned in that bounty. It’s mine!” She kicked it again before growling.

    “Have you tried being a little more gentler?” The quiet voice behind her made her seeth. MIran turned to see her face reflected in the goggles. The man’s lips were curled into a smirk.

    “Shut up, Cyrus. Don’t you have anything better to do? Kicking orphans or something?”

    “Awww, Mira. Don’t be like that.” He learned around her and punched a few buttons. The display beeped and turned green, showing a positive balance. “See, there you go. Just need to be nice.”

    She shoved him aside and pulled out another card. “You saying I’m not nice?”

    “I would never say that. So, do you need help on the James Gang bounty?”

    “What? Where did you hear that?” She spun around and narrowed her eyes. “Are you trying to jump on my bounties again? I will shoot you in the balls if you keep it up.”

    Cyrus held up his hands. “I’m just asking. I heard it through the grapevine.”

    She snorted and slid a card through the swipe again.

    The display turned red. These vessels are not redeemable.

    “Oh COME ON!” She swing her foot back before Cyrus stopped her and hit a few buttons. A section of the wall opened, exposing several rows of bullets. She had a gang to hunt down.

    250 words

  13. Chris and Lindsey shared a look as they heard the voices coming from beyond the door. Lindsey raised her eyebrows in question of what they said while Chris’ stomach plummeted to her feet. They spoke in Farsi, but she heard them loud and clear.

    “These vessels are not redeemable.”

    “It’s true they are inferior, but perhaps they can be used for something more than just torture of the male infidels.”

    A disgusted snort came from behind the door. “You should not wish to sully yourself with such trash. They cannot even compare to the lowest of our women.”

    Chris braced herself and hoped they’d pass by. But she remembered there’d been no more corridor beyond their cell and there was no other reason for the men to come down here except for them.

    “What are they saying?” Lindsey whispered.

    “They’re deciding whether or not to rape us.”

    Lindsey swallowed hard, but she’d been a cop. Chris knew she could handle the news. MaryAnn on the other hand…

    “Shit.” Lindsey straightened up. “Do you think your text message got through to the SEALs?”

    “I hope so, but I don’t know if we can wait that long.”

    “What will we do if they come in?”

    Chris grimaced as a key rattled in the door. “It looks like we’re about to find out.”

    221 ineligible #WIP500 words

  14. “Two hundred thousand,” a businessman ahead of me says, licking his lips. I resist the urge to sneer.

    “Sold, for two hundred thousand.” The merchandise is moved off the platform and the next item is brought out.

    They look terrible. The scars on the bottom could be overlooked but not the lines on the faces. “Let’s start the bidding and two thousand,” the auctioneer suggests. No one moves or answers. “That’s just one thousand a piece.”

    Approaching, I can tell the lines on their face aren’t permanent, I can get them off, and I really did want a pair.

    The auctioneer notices my interest. “Fifteen hundred?” he suggests.

    I pull the wad from my pocket. “Fourteen hundred?” I ask, counting bills.

    He looks over the item again. “Fine, but these vessels are not redeemable.”

    “I understand,” I tell him, handing him the money. “Broken?”

    “No,” he says with a twisted expression. “As you can see, we tried.”

    I nod. I’d rather break them myself anyway. “They are siblings?” I ask.

    “Yes. Please take them away.”

    The girls whimper against the gags in their mouths, holding hands across their bodies. Using an open palm, I slap each one hard on the thigh.

    “Heads high. You will not disgrace me.”

    The girls stumble. “No wonder you’re not redeemable,” I complain, taking the foot of one in my hand. Red weals stripe the soul. I flag a rickshaw. His price will be taken from each of them.

    They had better be worth it.

    250 words

  15. The AMOLED flyers danced from the Tram’s wind. The naked women normally didn’t catch Nikki’s attention, but today—when she was so close to homelessness, to starvation, their slick bodies in a permanent loop was poignant. They could be her tonight.

    She was second in line. The man in front of her dropped his handful into the metal tray. The Rater held the vessels under his glowing visor, then dropped them into a chute behind him.

    “55,” he boomed. The receiver bowed repeatedly, scraping together his credits as he rushed away. Most who traded their vessels were in dire straits.

    She was no different. She stepped forward.

    “Present your vessels.” She dumped the tokens, some in the shapes of people, others indescribable—all the only value she had left.

    The Rater brought them to his visor and dropped them back into the tray. “These vessels are not redeemable.”

    No. It couldn’t be. It was all she had.

    But the Rater was final. Arguing never helped. She took her vessels back. How could they not be redeemable?

    She had done everything right, had earned the vessels in the Rightful Tournaments with her registered ID. What could have gone wrong? Nikki was moved aside as the line progressed.

    She’d rather die than starve another day. She grabbed at the next person’s credits and her ears had barely registered the hiss of lasers when she felt her chest explode. The credits fell as she did.

    And she had gotten her wish.


  16. “The vessels are not redeemable.”

    “What’s that?”

    “The vessels, the… little pots – no matter your wealth, you cannot redeem them…”

    The vision, the strange memory – of a trip to some country whose name he could not recall – faded from his mind. Heat turned to cold; blindingly bright turned to pitch black; a symphony of conversations in different languages, traffic, children playing, turned to deafening silence; happiness turned to despair; and then all he could remember was the white hot pain that clawed at every inch of his body and the scream tore from his throat.

    100 words

  17. Silta grunted in frustration and slammed her hand down on the counter.

    “Anything I can do?” Tessa asked from across the workstation.

    “No. These vessels are not redeemable.” Silta quickly brushed the five delicate globes into the trash-incino. “Two months of work and I’m no further.”

    “Maybe the med team will develop a treatment,” Tessa offered up hopefully.

    “They’ve been working on this longer than you and I have.” Silta shook her head and began pulling out new supplies. “How are you doing?”

    “Getting there. If I was home with all my equipment I’d feel better.”

    “If we were home Mattin and the others wouldn’t have caught some alien disease.” Silta’s voice caught as she mentioned her husband’s name.

    It had been a long seven months since the exploration team had come back on board the ship with an unknown rash that had soon led to comas. Frustrated, the med team had put them into emergency life pods. But those would only be able to sustain them another month or two at most.

    “Just tell me you’ll be able to extract their consciences if we need to.” Silta said almost begging.

    “Doing my best. Make sure the globes are ready if we need them.”

    Silta nodded and resumed her desperate work. This was not the honeymoon she’d planned.


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


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