Thursday, August 30, 2012

#ThursThreads - The Challenge That Ties Tales Together - Week 36


Welcome back to the Weird, the Wild, & the Wicked. It's Thursday again, so what should you be doing? Writing #FlashFiction, that's what! Welcome to Week 36 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 36:


The erotic romance author with the great taste in men, Alex Bowman.
 

And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
 
The Prompt:

“I never stood up for her.”

All stories written herein are the property (both intellectual and physical) of the authors. Now, away with you, Flash Fiction Fanatics, and show us your #ThursThreads. Good luck! :)

50 comments:

  1. I never stood up for her, that pregnant woman on the bus. I didn’t even think of it at the time. I was too engrossed in reading over the headlines on my iPad. I didn’t even really look up. Or at least I can keep telling myself that.

    Neither did a lot of people, I guess. The guy in the suit didn’t, but that was no surprise. He was on his cell phone, talking at a volume unfit for public transportation. Unfit for public, really. The college kid with the glasses and headphones didn’t stand up either. He just stared out the window.

    The mother with her two young children looked like she would have if she’d been alone. She gave a sympathetic smile. And the elderly couple did the same, although I did see the old man rise a little before his wife pulled at his arm to stay. He wouldn’t have been able to manage standing with his oxygen tank.

    I should have stood up for her. I know it. Why didn’t the others? A pregnant woman, appearing at least eight months along, forced to stand the entire trip from 5th to 42nd. As I checked the straps on my prosthetics, still adjusting to using them like this, the bus rolled to a stop. The pregnant woman passed me, and I ungainly rose and followed. Only then did I see my folly.

    I didn’t have legs, but I did have manners. I should have stood up for her.

    250 words
    @rastrohman

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great observation - and so topical with the paralympics at the moment

      Delete
  2. Big Bertha
    By Wakefield Mahon

    Big Bertha, that’s what the boys called her in school. I thought she had moved out of Folmun. I certainly didn’t expect to see her in line at First National Bank.
    “Hello Lupe.” Her lips never moved.
    So she knew. All those years in school, I could read her mind; I knew what the boys did to Beatrice after school. I never stood up for her.
    A gunshot interrupted my guilty pity party. I’d been so focused on her, I hadn’t noticed the man, but now his anxiety hit me like a wall.
    A teller triggered an audible alarm and the robber panicked. He shot the teller and a guard who was fumbling for his sidearm. Then he started shooting customers at random.
    Beatrice glanced at me and transmitted a single thought. “The quality of mercy is not strained.” Before I understood what she meant, she launched herself forward, tackling the gunman and taking several shots to the chest in the process.
    Spurred by her action, I wrestled the gun away and subdued the stunned attacker with the help of a few other customers.
    The police and paramedics were on their way but by the silence in my head, I knew she was already gone. The peaceful look on her face still haunts my nightmares.
    I guess you could say that’s why I joined the force. I won’t, I can’t let her example, her sacrifice, go unanswered. I will never stand by and let an innocent person get hurt again.

    @Wakefield Mahon
    250 Words from the world of Full Moon City

    ReplyDelete
  3. Payback

    “It’s time.” Sienna took a deep breath. Nina nodded, and followed her out the door. Dressed completely in black, they blended into the shadows all the way to the graveyard. Slipping through a hole in the fence, they moved silently over to a corner grave. Sienna knelt down, putting her hand on the earth. “Tonight’s the night,” she said softly. There was a shifting beneath her fingers and a chill breeze swept over them. The ground trembled and there were scrabbling sounds below.

    “We need to hurry.” In no time at all, they were outside a video arcade, waiting in the shadows. It wasn’t long before a handsome young man came out to smoke, his back turned to them. Silently, Nina stepped up to him and injected him with the anesthetic she had stolen. The boy went down without a sound. Together, the girls dragged him to Sienna’s car, bound his hands and drove off.

    Sienna drove home after dropping Nina and the prisoner off just outside the graveyard. She walked quickly back and together they dragged him over to the grave. The dirt was moving. Something was trying to get out. The young man stirred, blinking groggily.

    “Wh..what….?”

    “Hello Todd. It’s time. You treated Tracy like dirt while she was alive, and I never stood up for her. I’m changing that tonight.”

    The girls pushed him face down onto the grave. Decaying arms pushed free, slid around him, dragged him down. One choked scream later, the grave was still.

    250 words {without title}
    @Angelique_Rider

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yummy!

      Very dark story, I wonder what he did that deserved such a terrifying fate?

      Delete
  4. My stomach heaved, emptying on the black pavement and splashing on my white sneakers. I didn’t care. I didn’t care if my entire body were drenched in vomit. It should be. I should be dripping in vomit and blood. I deserved it.

    The body on the ground was barely recognizable. Burns covered half of her face and the other half looked broken where it was flattened on the asphalt. She was naked, her body criss-crossed with red lines, some bloody, most scarred. Her side was the worst. A round hole pierced her side, clean through, singed black on the edges by whatever hot implement had punctured her.

    I never stood up for her. I never told Bruce to stop. I never blocked his belt, his fist, his cigarettes and lighters. I had similar lines criss-crossing my body. I could be next.

    I never stood up for her. I had better stand up for myself.

    154 words
    @Kimmydonn

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very strong imagery along with powerful emotions.

      Delete
  5. I never stood up for her. I thought she was bat shit crazy. How many times did I go blurry-eyed as she told tall tales about mysterious things? I guess what they say about truth being stranger than fiction turned out to be true.

    After an evening of particularly eye rolling tales, I excused myself. I had a test the next morning. I couldn’t listen another minute. It was nearly ten o’clock and the evening air was chilly. I pulled my jacket tighter and began the short walk home. The quickest route took me through an open field with tall grass, drying out and wilting as fall faded out.

    In front of me, a strong, blue-white light appeared on the ground. I shielded my eyes, as I looked heavenward to find the source. A craft in the shape of a triangle hovered overhead. I rubbed my eyes, my mind flitting back to the absurd stories I’d found so unbelievable just minutes before.

    I felt a hand touch my shoulder. I spun around. It was her. Her eyes were different. A bright glow lit them up from behind and made them seem like mirrors.

    “You believe me now, don’t you?” she asked, tilting her head to the side.

    I backed away and looked up at the craft, which had started to descend.

    “I like the ones who don’t believe. It makes this more fun.”

    A vortex swirled around me, lifting me into the hovering craft. She appeared at my side, smiling.

    @Toni1777
    250 Words

    ReplyDelete
  6. Standing Up


    “Those of you who have taken classes with me before know that I like to start off with a simple exercise in tolerance.” Dr. Susan Gramling looked directly at me without making it obvious that I was the target of her gaze. “I would like everyone in this room who does not consider him- or herself straight to stand up.”

    I slouched a little in my seat. This was about the sixth time I’d taken a Gramling class since my freshman year; she was my advisor, and except for this, she was a really good teacher. But she always asked this question on the first day of class. I was the target of her question, and I knew it, and she knew I knew it.

    I never stood up for her. I had made the mistake of telling my freshman roommate the truth, and it had spread to the whole hall. This was a Christian college, after all, and that sort of thing wasn’t accepted.

    But then…I heard the scraping of a chair. I turned my head and was startled to see someone rising to his feet. A new guy, a transfer from one of the community colleges. I’d seen him around the dorms.

    And, truth be told, I thought he was cute.

    For the first time, I felt that “gay pride” thing people were always talking about. Dr. Gramling’s astonishment gave way to a smile as, at last, I stood up for her.

    245 words {not counting title}
    @KelseyPotter13

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yaaaaaaaaaaaay - http://www.cameron-lawton.com/2012/08/invitation.html

      Delete
  7. I never stood up for her and now she’s gone there is no way I can.
    It seems so long ago we were children playing on the playground. The bullies taunted us; she stood up for me and she was taunted even worse for the defense. I stood there and turned on her excepting the tormenter’s friendship anything not to be bullied. We grew up and I watched her shrink inside of herself alone in a sea of people but still I didn’t reach out. I didn’t befriend her and she kept to herself. My life went on. I had friends, people who cared about me. I had a boyfriend, she had no one. Still I didn’t do anything. We moved on to college and university; she did too but still she kept to herself. I joined fraternities and partied. She stayed in her dorm and studied. University ended we graduated and I didn’t say two words to her. Why didn’t I? Why did I? Once my best friend, I let her go choosing others over her companionship, her allegiance to me. She took her life yesterday and now I reach out, too late, much too late. Goodbye my friend
    200 words
    @SweetSheil

    ReplyDelete
  8. “Is Kait dead?”

    A young man approached me with the question. He sat down on the picnic bench next to me. Blinding noon sun turned the lake into a flow of glittering diamonds. This day—fresh, green, bright—stood out in opposition to the case.

    “At this point?” I cast a glance toward Murray, thirty feet away and interviewing another of Kait’s friends. Officially, I doubted the detective would appreciate me talking to the young man, but it didn’t feel right to turn him away. “We’re not entirely certain. Something’s definitely happened to her.”

    “Shit,” the boy said. “Some friends we are. We—I never stood up for her.”

    “In what way?”

    “Is it true what they’re saying about you?” he asked, ignoring my question.

    “Depends on what they’re saying.”

    “You’re a—a psychic?”

    My focus on the water, I nodded slowly.

    “Then—can you—I mean—” From the corner of my eye, his Adam’s apple bobbed as he swallowed hard. “Maybe if I don’t actually say it.”

    “You’re scared of someone?”

    “Yes.”

    “Someone who maybe got Kait?”

    Wrapped in the arms of a muggy, hot Florida afternoon, he shivered. I looked directly at him. Late teens, tall and handsome, with the rangy build of a jock. He should still be caught up in the youthful throes of immortality. What kind of person scared a kid like him?

    “I should have stood up,” he whispered.

    Did I really want to know?

    Heavy hearted, I rested a hand over his.

    @caramichaels
    250 #WIP500 words

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    Replies
    1. I realize you know this already, but you rock :)

      Delete
  9. I have not spoken to my daughter for exactly one year. We had a falling out and while I see her around town, we never speak. She’s having problems and I, her father, am not there for her. When my husband threw her out, I should’ve stood up for her, defended her, but I didn’t.

    Why?

    I don’t know. If might’ve been how angry my husband was. It may be that I was at the end of my rope with her. She was high, she was drunk, and she was ready to fight. We made it clear she could not enter our home until she cleaned up. When she and Jacoby started screaming at each other, I took his side instead of hers.

    So now I’m stuck with the guilt of my decision. I’ve been where she is and everyone turned their backs on me. I swore I’d never do that to my kids. But that’s the first thing I did; I turned my back on my child. I did what I said I’d never do. I never stood up for her.

    182 words
    @Aightball

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    Replies
    1. Ooh the hard place that "tough love" puts a parent. Evocative narrative!

      Delete


  10. Revelation

    Steve loved Fridays. Being dress-down day he got to see Mark in more casual clothes and find him even more desirable and the atmosphere was relaxed. He could dream that it might be possible, one day ...

    The explosion from the other side of the partition in the open-plan office caused him to jump. Mark was normally the most balanced of guys and to hear him swear like that was a shock. Steve leaned around and said,

    “Hey, mate – what's up?”

    “The bitch, the fucking vicious bitch!”

    “Who?”

    “My ex-bloody-wife, that's who! Come here – look what she's put on Facebook about me!”

    Steve went around and leaned forward, his hand on Mark's shoulder as he peered at the screen.

    “Hell, I never even knew you'd been married,” he said, trying to ignore the implications of what he was reading. Faggot, queen, bum-bandit, … his heart started to race and his mouth went dry.

    “Mistake. Didn't last long, she's bankrupted me and now this!” Mark sounded close to tears of rage.

    “What went wrong?”

    “I suppose you could say, I never stood up for her,” Mark smiled wryly “and that would be the truth in several ways.”

    Their eyes met and something subtle and unspoken passed between them. Oh yes, Steve could definitely hope now.

    Word Count 226
    cameronlawton899@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Finally!!!! my own genre - no zombies or undead ...

      Delete
    2. Very clever turn of phrase on the prompt :)

      Delete
  11. I know this dream; it’s as familiar to me as the face that looks back from my bathroom mirror every morning, both of them reflections of my guilt. It’s been more than thirty years, but I still have regrets, the should-haves and what-ifs linger.

    In the dream she’s always crying, the tears making her face red and swollen. The other kids stand around, mostly quiet, some throwing taunts and cruel barbs that sink into the girl’s soul and do damage none of us can even imagine. A life is being altered forever, and none of us say anything to stop it, we’re too afraid of what the bullies will do if we speak up. When words stop working the pushing begins, pinches and shoves that bruise and hurt. And again, no one tries to stop it. I know eventually the teachers come and take the girl away, I remember them asking her what she was doing to the other children to make them pick on her.

    I always wake up angry at the child I had been because I never stood up for her, never tried to make them stop, because I was afraid. Maybe if I had, things would have been different. Maybes and what-ifs, I’ll never know for sure. But when I look in the mirror and see the eyes of that little girl staring back at me, I really wished I’d tried harder. My life might have been so different, if I’d only stood up for myself.

    250 words
    @capricia13

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ouch ... too close to home but excellently written

      Delete
    2. I felt it coming just two seconds before the reveal. Very well done!

      Delete
  12. Marika shouldn’t have died.

    Jozsef faced the onset of the dawn as the truth ate at him. I never stood up for her, for any of them. If he had, he wouldn’t be in this place or predicament.

    But if you had defended Marika, you never would have met Rain.

    The positive thought seemed like a candle in the wind of his recriminations. Regrets swarmed like ants and he kept brushing them away before they overwhelmed him as the sun crested the trees.

    Rain’s home was beautiful, like the woman herself, and he tightened his hands on his vest as his resolve hardened. He’d be damned before he let anyone hurt her or destroy her home. Someone chipped away at her good humor and peace every day and Jozsef needed to find out who it was.

    Otherwise it will be like all the others and you will have done nothing.

    Well, not this time. This time he’d make an effort. He’d save her and then he’d be free of his curse, free to move on.

    He tried to ignore the pang of unhappiness those thoughts engendered as Rain shuffled into the kitchen seeking her ‘morning elixir’. He’d protect her and everything would be set to rights. This time, he’d succeed.

    210 ineligible #WIP500 words
    @SiobhanMuir

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very curious where this is headed dear hostess. :)

      Delete
  13. When they came for the radicals, I kept my head down. I said nothing. One drizzly afternoon, they hauled the girl in the apartment next door out in cuffs for seditious blogging. I never stood up for her. Deep down, I suspected she deserved it. Well, not really. She'd never been anything but kind to me, and she was about as revolutionary as a marshmallow. But the news on television spoke of the dangerous secrets everyone was probably hiding. Beware of everyone, even yourself. Especially yourself.

    The old saying talks about how when they came for me, there was no one left to speak up. But they never came, because I kept quiet and didn't call attention to myself. I risked nothing -- not for my neighbors, not for my friends, not for my family. Heroes are for kid's stories. Who wants to lose what little we had left by speaking out against all the things they'd taken?

    158 words / @surlymuse

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    Replies
    1. And that attitude hangs over even once the situation changes. I was in Poland just after it opened up and people were still wary of everyone, looking over their shoulders - excellent piece.

      Delete
    2. I love when someone takes the counter-intuitive approach. Great story, and quite unsettling, Mister Swensen. :)

      Delete
  14. I stood watching silently as the dirt thumped down on the coffin lid, blinking back tears I had no right to shed. I never stood up for her, if I had Marie would still be alive, but this was neither the time nor the place to let my guilt overwhelm me.

    My younger sister had been everything I wasn’t; accomplished, beautiful and an obedient daughter. She’d bowed her head and swallowed her despair when my parents arranged her marriage to Stapler the wool merchant in order to fill the family coffers. Her happiness had been bartered away, and I’d said nothing. She’d died in childbirth one year later; the fourth young wife the old lech had buried that way.

    She had barely breathed her last when he came calling to ask my parents for me to replace the wife he’d lost. I was stronger and sturdier than my sister, and he hoped I’d be the one to provide him with a legitimate heir. I decided then he wouldn’t survive the wedding night; the poison in my ring would ensure his death wouldn’t be easy.

    It was the only way I could make amends. And then perhaps Marie’s ghost would let me rest, and she’d fine peace at last.

    208 words
    @tollykit

    ReplyDelete
  15. My friend’s husband was buried today.

    She’s not my friend – not really. We were classmates once.

    Carrie Anne was a sweet girl. Quiet. She liked nature, I remember. Always looking out of the school building windows to the landscape outside. My football buddies used to make fun of her for that.

    She found love before any of us did, though.

    They’ve lowered the casket into the ground now, the fallen leaves of autumn brittle under our feet. There’s never a good time to bury someone you care about, but somehow I think it must be easier in spring or summer, when the earth gives something back to you - green growing up from where death lays.

    The mourners have all left, awkward apologies hanging in the air as they step quietly back into their own lives. Carrie Anne has curled up in front of the hole in the ground, her arms wrapped around her knees. But instead of staring at her husband’s casket, she’s looking up at the trees just as she used to. Maybe she finds some comfort, some reason for everything, by looking up there.

    “Nature knows more than the rest of us,” she once told me in Bio class. I remember the guys laughing at her, but she only smiled.

    I take a step toward where she sits.

    I never stood up for her then.

    I will, now.

    231 words
    @RGraceAllen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is something strangely powerful in these words that I can't quite pin down.

      Delete
  16. For years, my heart screamed, telling me to get in my car, drive to Baton Rogue, find her. Take her someplace safe. Then return to her house, and beat her husband within an inch of his life.

    For years, I had nightmares filled with the sounds of his open hands striking her face. Of kitchen chairs clattering on the floor where she landed among them when he threw her. Of the sound of the tears she shed after he’d walked away. Leaving her wounded. and in pain.

    Nightmares filled with images of the bruises on her face. Carefully covered with makeup. Bruises on her arms, hidden by the sleeves of her shirt. Bruises on her ribs and legs. Hidden by her clothes. Bruises no one ever saw.

    Nightmares filled with the terror I knew she felt. Waiting for him to return once more. Wondering if he’d strike her again.

    Oh, the times my heart cried out, “Drop everything! Go! You know what to do! Please! Go!”

    But I was afraid.

    At a small reunion of old friends this past year, I learned she was divorced. She’d left him. Run away. She was healing from the years he’d beaten her.

    I should have listened to my heart. Taken my car. Gone to Baton Rogue. Rescued her from that evil man. But I was too afraid. And in my fear, I never stood up for her.

    There are some mistakes that just can't be corrected.

    247 Words
    @LurchMunster

    ReplyDelete
  17. Idle Hands

    It didn't take long for the news to reach town. Sarah was dead, murdered. She had tried to warn us, even asked for help but no one listened to her.

    It would have only taken a few words, something like "I am here for you" or "I believe you" might have sufficed, if only someone cared enough to think about another human being for a change and attempted to help a woman in need. I should have spoken up and helped save an innocent life in the process but remained silent. I never stood up for her.

    Sarah constantly spoke about being stalked by midnight shadows, by monsters that only emerged at night.

    "She's making it up" or "She's crazy" were all people had to say on the matter. They provided no words of comfort or acceptance that a real threat could have been out there, watching and waiting.

    "Time erases guilt, right?" Well, not this time. Sarah was not the first to fall, she was just one of the already forgotten few and we all knew she would not be the last.

    The culprit will pay the ultimate price for these crimes but we are all responsible for our idle hands which are far from clean.

    @ClareStubbs2
    205 words (excluding title)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The guilt of idle hands. I like the language of this piece.

      Delete
  18. THAT’S WHAT YOU GET…

    After my parent’s divorce, my mother got verbally battered and bruised by my father for years. I never stood up for her. I never argued my father’s harsh words; instead I joined in on the bashing. I nodded vigorously when my father called my mother “a fucking good for nothing low life bitch.” I hardly visited, only going to her apartment on holidays that were claimed by her. I avoided her calls when possible. I hated her, but I didn’t exactly know why I felt this way. She left when I was seven; in my mind that was enough to justify my ill feelings. I always wondered what happened, but my questions went unanswered.

    I grew older. I discovered the truth. My mother cheated on my father. Not enough? She slept with her goddamn cousin. Apparently, I ratted her out. I woke up from a nap, wondered in her bedroom, and found her in bed, naked with a strange man. I don’t remember this, but I was told I ran to my father when he came home from work and tattled on my mother. She left the next day.

    My mother is dead. I’m fifty-six now, with a grown child and a granddaughter on the way. Standing in front of her closed casket, I can’t summon a tear. Oh well.

    The service is ending. But I need to get my last two cents in.

    I lean close to her fancy casket, whispering, “fuck you,” to her rotting, hopefully hell-bound soul.

    Word Count – 250 (Excluding the title)
    @NightOwlWrites

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    Replies
    1. Wow, some really dark feelings here. Vengeance is a powerful emotion. Strong writing.

      Delete
  19. Guilt.

    “I don’t know what else to say, I didn’t do it,” her voice shivered, as she looked out over the auditorium, filled with students.
    “You may take your seat,” the Headmistress said, and pressed her lips into a tight line.

    I watched from the back, together with Sarah; both white in the face, nauseous, and feeling worse than ever. We’d done it, not that girl.

    A week later, she was expelled.

    Sarah and I were walking on our way to class, both cringing as we saw the grotesque painting. The St. Mary’s School for young Women emblem now had two gigantic penises covering it; the tips of them touching each other. We’d bought the paint, and done it during a blackout; another thing we’d orchestrated.

    “Kit, snap out of it. There was nothing you could have done, nothing,” Sarah said, though her voice shook every time she mentioned it.
    “Maybe if I-,” I whispered, but Sarah cut me off.
    “You would have been expelled,” she hissed, and took off running.

    I entered the room, took my seat; next to Sarah, and waited for class to begin.

    Mrs. Jefferson came in, dabbing her eyes. “Caitlin passed away last night; her parents found her in bed,” she said, and quenched a sob. “Let this be a reminder to you all, that guilt is the heaviest burden to carry.”

    I looked at Sarah, panic stricken.
    I never stood up for her, I thought, I killed her.

    Word Count; 243
    @ChessnySilth

    ReplyDelete
  20. Once Upon a Regicide

    The dwarves tramped happily along, singing for the first time in a very long time. The evil queen, Regina, had been vanquished, order was restored to the storybook kingdom and they were safe to return to their forest home.

    As they marched and sang, Dopey broke off and said, “You know, I really feel quite badly about all of this. I mean, I know we always spoke of her as ‘The Evil Queen did this’ or ‘The Evil Queen did that’ and that seems rather unfair, doesn’t it? In all those years of hiding and living in mortal fear, well, I never stood up for her a single time. And, now, that all just seems very wrong. I never stood up for her.” There was a tone of sadness and deep regret in his voice.

    The other dwarves broke line, gathering about. Their faces held looks of neither sadness nor regret but of stunned disbelief. All looked stunned with the exception of Grumpy, who looked…well…grumpy.

    He gave Dopey a swat to the back of his head that was, somehow, more loving than angry, if such is possible.

    “You really ARE dopey. Of course you never stood up for her. Nobody stood up for her and you know why? Because she really WAS evil, you dummy. That’s why we called her ‘The Evil Queen’! Now, if you’re done being dopey, can we please just get home?”

    Dopey shrugged and rejoined the others in line, marching and singing as befitted the occasion.

    250 words @klingorengi

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    Replies
    1. Hilarious! Thanks for breaking up the dark mood. I can't wait until this season starts!

      Delete
  21. “You can’t blame yourself; it wasn’t your fault,” Alex says. She is perched on the edge of the couch, her forearms resting across her thighs. The look on her face says she wants to help, that she must help, but that she has no idea how.

    “But it is my fault,” I say. “You didn’t see her last night. You didn’t see the way she looked at me. Her eyes, Alex. Her eyes! There was… so much pain.”

    “You’re right. I didn’t see her, but that doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t change what I know to be true.”

    “What you know?” I ask. “And what is that? I never stood up for her, Alex. I couldn’t see past my own ego and now she’s gone.” Rose had run out into the night, so desperate to leave this life behind. I tried to stop her; I pleaded for her to come back inside, but it was no use. She wouldn’t even let me give her a ride and now she is lost.

    Alex rises from her place on the couch, piercing me with her gaze. “What I know is that you didn’t kill her, Tom. No matter what happened between the two of you, this guilt isn’t yours to bear. It doesn’t belong to you.”

    In my head, I know she is right. Her words ring true in my head, but my heart refuses to accept it. I failed her and now she has paid the price.

    250 words
    @MikeEMillerBook

    ReplyDelete
  22. Salvador shifted on his feet as he watched the woman mix herbs into the bowl. “And this will fix everything?”

    The crone paused, glancing up. “If you wait until the full of the moon and slip this into any food or drink, yes. It will fix everything.”

    He rubbed the back of his neck, sucking in his lip. “I-I don’t know. This seems kind of extreme.”

    “I remind you, child, you came to me. You wanted to right what was wrong. I help you. Do NOT waste my time.” A thin finger was pointed in his face, the skin thin enough that he could see the veins that ran underneath it. It tinged her hand blue in some areas. It was like viewing a spider web up close, the creature hidden and waiting for the fly to be trapped.

    “Right. Of course. I apologize. I don’t want to waste your time.” Sal cleared his throat and stepped back, sweat breaking out on his upper lip.

    Cloudy blue eyes continued to stare over the hand before it dropped and she continued. “This is the price you will have to pay. Nothing is free. Especially vengeance.”

    “I never stood up for her. I was too late.”

    “This will make it better. But once it is done. You must come back. Your life as it is, will be over. Understand, child?”

    “Yes, I understand.” He would be the monster. Not those who bullied his sister to death. The moon would be his mistress.

    250 words
    @solimond

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  23. “The Standing”

    -District Twelve?

    -District Twelve stands for the Regent.

    Mergath’s pale blue eyes flash, her thin lips tight. Eleven districts lie in her hand, but eleven are not enough, not this time. All Twelve must stand.

    -District Eleven?

    -District Eleven stands for the Regent.

    Her face burns with ill-concealed anger.

    “The throne is mine,” she says coolly. The representatives from Districts Eight and Twelve vomit, but they too know the Laws must be obeyed.

    District Ten stands.

    I remember when Mergath came to us, ice-eyes raging. She quoted an obscure phrase, a clause within a clause, buried deep in the ancient Middle Laws. Her jaws were the open jaws of hell, and even then we feared her.

    Districts Nine, Eight, and Seven stand.

    Now to the other side of the marble table, where the remaining representatives sit, pale-faced and trembling in the grey shadows of their cowardice.

    -District Six?

    -District Six stands for the Regent.

    I am last, of course--District One is the eldest. It had begun with me; it would end with me.

    Four more, standing. All eyes turn my direction.

    Mergath snarls.

    I never stood up for her in the early days, when courage was more easily come by. But now?

    I feel her bubbling rage. I know what glorious riches standing could yield, what agonies await if I do not.

    The moment passes; I smile and cross my arms.

    I smile, even as Mergath reaches out death-hands toward me.

    The kingdom may still perish.

    But not today.

    250 words, excluding title
    @postupak

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

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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?

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