Thursday, November 29, 2012

#ThursThreads - The Challenge That Ties Tales Together - Week 48

Welcome back to the Weird, the Wild, & the Wicked after your week off. Miss it? Well, it's Thursday again, so what should you be doing? Writing #FlashFiction, that's what! Welcome to Week 48 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 48:

The author, scientist, geek, and zombie aficionado, J. Whitworth Hazzard.

J on Google Plus
And check out his new Zombie serial, Dead Sea Games: Adrift

And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.

The Prompt:

“I just wanted to be sure.”

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! :)


  1. “Tiffany why aren’t you in bed? It’s midnight.”
    “I just need a drink.”
    The mother went and got Tiffany and drink. A few minutes later, she heard the six year old on the stairs again.
    “Tiffany why are you up again? I’m tired can’t we both go to sleep.”
    “I wanted to see if Santa had been.”
    “Tiffany we had this discussion. I lost my job and Santa is the mothers and fathers who give the presents.”
    “But Sarah said Santa is real.”
    “I’m sorry honey. I wish I could bring you that Furby, but it costs too much and I don’t have the money.”
    “I’m sorry for getting up out of bed again. I just wanted to be sure,” Tiffany replied sadly.
    “I’m sorry, baby,” the mother answered.
    Just then they heard sounds like pebbles on the roof and then the doorbell rang. Going to the door the mother peered out the peek hole. No one there. The mother opened the door there on the stoop a laundry basket filled with brightly covered packages and food including a turkey. One of the presents said to Tiffany from Santa.
    “Mommy, can I open the present from Santa, please? It is Christmas now!”
    “Go ahead, Tiffany.”
    Tiffany opened the present and there she found the Furby she had so wanted.
    “I told you Mommy. I told you there is a Santa.”
    “I guess you knew better Tiffany,” replied the mother smiling. “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.”
    250 words

  2. Banks was the only one who could fly the shuttle. And Martin had just eaten his face. That's when I knew we were in trouble.

    "Christ, Martin, what are you--" Cook's question is interrupted by the sound of projectile vomiting. I can't say I blame him. Banks is spread out across the hangar bay like an accident at a sausage factory. Outside, the wind is rising, the hangar groaning with the weight of snow. We're running out of time.

    "Phage," Martin says. He grins. A red flood runs down his chin. "Consume the flesh, absorb the knowledge. Communion. Encapsulated gnosis. So I can learn how to fly the shuttle."

    Great, so he's nuts. I should have known. He's been spending all his time with the artifact we found in the ice.

    "Banks KNEW how to fly the shuttle!"

    His eyes bulge. "I just wanted to be sure."

    Cook has finished vomiting and is now in the corner groaning and sobbing. He's never held it together well under pressure. That's my job, unfortunately.

    Our options are next to none. The storm's coming. Martin's just eaten the pilot. The artifact is slowly driving us all nuts. We have to get out of here. All we have left is an insane gamble.

    I choose my words carefully. "Martin. Can you really fly the shuttle? "

    Martin opens his mouth to speak. That's when Cook shoots him in the head.

    I have no idea how we're getting out of here now.

    246 words / @surlymuse

  3. The sour-faced nurse handed me the journal. Along with a couple of threadbare sweaters and a pair of reading glasses, the journal was all that was left of my father.

    “I wouldn’t get too excited about that. It’s filled with the same crazy ramblings that landed him here in the first place.”

    “You read his journal?” I knew she couldn’t possibly understand my father’s code, but the idea of her antiseptic stare on the pages of his writing made angry.

    She half snorted, then shoved the paper bag filled with his other things into my arms.

    “Hate to hurry you along, but we’ve got another patient coming in this afternoon.”

    I wanted to punch her cold, emotionless face. Instead, I tucked the journal into my pocket and retreated from the hospital room, past the front desk and out into the cold morning air.

    I hurried to my car, tossed the bag into the back seat and started the engine. My heart raced as I pulled the journal from my pocket and flipped to the last page. The words I was hoping for filled the first line.

    Had he really done it? I just wanted to be sure, so I read it a second time. Then a third.

    Yes, yes he had. He’d figured out how to reopen the portal. I snapped the journal shut and peeled out of the parking lot. By this time tomorrow I’d be kissing this planet goodbye, by this time tomorrow I’d be home.

    248 words/ @RevolutionaryVJ

  4. Turning Point

    Eyes closed, I let the rune form in my mind, flow down my arm, and slip from my fingertips onto the lid of the wooden chest. I’d tuned out the sound of traffic and the pinging of whatever ran through the pipes. Nate’s labored breath was my focus, a wheezing metronome, winding down too fast. I finished warding the box and turned to him.

    “This next part is going to suck.”

    “Because it hasn’t so far?” He laughed. It devolved into a coughing fit.

    “Not like this.”

    “At least if you kill me, the pain will stop.”

    I didn’t know if that was true, but he didn’t need my opinion on the afterlife. Or un-life, in this case. Watching my brother die would be devastating. Killing him again if he rose would be worse. And harder.

    “Hey, Seth? You know what you’re doing, right?”

    “Magic is my thing, remember?” I couldn’t lie to him outright, but dissembling was okay. “I’ve got this.”

    “I just wanted to be sure.”

    I wanted that, too, but I’d never tried to remove a zombie curse before, and the source of my lore was sketchy, at best.

    “Keep looking in my eyes, okay?”

    He screamed as I withdrew the knife and tossed it in the box. When I closed the lid, Nate collapsed. Black goo oozed from his wound. I packed it with ritual herbs, laid him down in the circle, covered him with sigils, and settled in to wait, machete in hand.

    250 words (incl. title)

  5. Just Checking

    The stairs creaked as Bobby made his way down. He froze and silently cursed the darkness. He waited, but no sound of stirring reached his ears, so he moved on. His eyes were adjusting now, and he moved more easily toward the basement door. He tested the lock. It was holding just fine, even after he tugged at the door with all his strength. He reached over to the hook hanging beside the door, where a silver key hung, and took it down.

    “What do you think you’re doing?” Bobby grimaced, and turned to face his mother. Her arms were crossed and her face tired.

    “I’m…I was hungry and I just wanted to be sure…”

    His mother sighed. “Bobby, sweetheart, we’ve been over and over this. There’s no need to worry.”

    He hung his head. He knew she was probably right, but the fear was still there. Studying his downcast face, his mother relented.

    “Alright, we’ll go check, if it will make you feel better.”

    He brightened instantly and nodded, unlocking the door. Together they descended the stairs, down into the shadowed room. Directly in front of them, chained to the wall, were two people, a boy and a girl, their terrified eyes pleading.

    “See? I told you they’re still here.”

    Bobby’s eyes began to glow. “Just a little snack, Mom? Please?”

    She nodded, watching as his cold hands embraced the girl and he sank his teeth into the living flesh. The screams were musical.

    247 words {including title}

  6. Insanity.

    It saturated the air surrounding her. The farther I walked into her circle of influence, the more I disconnected from the world around us. Sounds narrowed to the shift of her boots in the dirt, the soft in and out of her breaths. Her scents—clean sweat, leather, horse, perfume rising from her warm skin—overtook all others. When we stood a breath apart, I knew nothing but her.

    “You can’t be him,” she said.

    How did a man prove his identity when he didn’t know it for sure himself?

    Her hand lifted, hovered close enough to see the fine tremors running through her. I wrapped my hand around her wrist and pressed my cheek into her palm. She stiffened for half a second and I wondered if she would reject me. Then she moved, fingertips discovering paths along my face. I closed my eyes to memorize the map she drew.

    “You feel like him.” The whispered words dug into my heart. “Sound like him. Do you kiss like him?”

    Her lips brushed over mine, a sweet ghost of a touch sending chills down my spine.

    “You say you’re him, but I don’t know. I just want to be sure.”

    “I don’t know how to prove myself,” I said. And if I didn’t, I’d lose her. “Maybe I should kiss you.”

    “Maybe you should.”

    Hypnotized by her, I slipped one hand beneath her hair and drew her to her toes.

    “Maybe when I’m done we’ll both know the truth.”

    250 NaNo words

  7. Not a good day to Die

    “The emergency tank’s empty. Looking at it again won’t change that.” I know I’m being snarky, but I can’t help it. It’s been the mother of all bad days.

    “I just wanted to be sure,” Dave muttered and glanced at the dial yet again.

    “When we start sucking vacuum in ten minutes, we’re both going to be very damned sure, and shortly thereafter we’re going to be very dead. Instead of staring at the dial of death, why don’t you try to come up with a way for us not to die?”

    He grunted and wandered over to a portal to stare at the starless abyss outside while I tried to come up with a plan. This entire mission had been one insane problem after another, and apparently I’m all out of insanity countermeasures.

    My musings were interrupted by Dave squawking and throwing himself back from the window, his arms flailing as he overbalanced in the minimal gravity we maintained on the cargo deck.

    “What now—Shit!” Well, now we know where the Captain was. I stared out the portal at the dead man’s face, a trickle of bloody saliva frozen to his lips. Space zombies, yet another thing not mentioned in the officer’s training program.

    I had an epiphany. If the Captain was outside, that meant the interior was currently zombie-free. We had something like seven minutes to unlock the door, make a run for the bridge and get the life support back on.

    I started running, again.

    249 words

  8. Steel robot bodies fell in cluttered heaps as the electromagnetic pulse rolled through the factory.

    “BlackFox to base. Target hit.” Even after twenty missions since the machines took over I still had the willies. The robots were smart. My paranoia kept me alive.

    “Base to BlackFox. Green light to recon. Stay safe and don’t get dead.”

    I picked my way through the scrap heaps - metal skeletons with a CPU and a solid state drive for a brain. Others looked human – too human. I stepped over bodies of perfect skin, luxurious hair and awesome abs. I made damn sure I didn't trip over racks of bony metal fingers and hip bones. Pushing down my nausea, I got back to work. A soft cry to my left stopped me in my tracks.

    I scrambled to the sound, a closet marked “DECOMMISSION.” She was naked and shivering. Without thinking I reached for my mini med kit and got the foil blanket around her. She never saw my knife coming.

    In a flash I sliced her arm. She yelped and pulled back in horror. “I just wanted to be sure,” I said. “The new models are harder to find.” My gut twisted as she held out her shaking arm. Blood poured from the wound and servos showed beneath the skin. She was one of them – one of the new ones.

    “Don’t kill me,” she begged. “I can help you defeat them all.”

    For the first time in years, I got a good feeling.

    250 Words

  9. "Stop asking me!” Jenna exclaimed in frustration. "I’m ready to do it, and I’d like to get on with it."
    "Okay, okay," Jake replied, throwing up his hands in surrender. "I just wanted to be sure this is what you want." He reached out to gently stroke her cheek. Jenna enjoyed his touch, especially when his hand slipped lower and brushed her neck.
    "Please, Jake," she whispered. "Let’s do it, now."
    She lay back and Jake’s hand moved to her stomach. His touch had her trembling in anticipation. This was the first time she’d ever done something like this, and though she wanted it badly, she was nervous.
    "Will it hurt, Jake?" she asked, her voice barely audible.
    His dark, blue eyes looked into hers, a slightly mischievous grin tugging up the corners of his mouth. "It probably will, but only at first. It’ll be fine after that."
    "I promise." He leaned over her. "I’m going to put it in now, Jenna."
    "Yes!" she cried softly as she closed her eyes. A moment later, she felt a sharp pain. "Oh! God!"
    "Shhhh," Jake said. "It’ll be over soon."
    Jenna’s scrunched up face began to relax as the pain gradually disappeared and she opened her eyes. Jake smiled.
    “Take a look,” he said.
    Propping herself up on her elbows, Jenna glanced down her body and smiled at the small gold hoop now protruding from her navel. She grinned.

    239 words

  10. “So…you’re sorry?”

    The bindings dug into the thug’s wrists as he nodded wildly. Slimy rivulets of blood snaked down his palm in weird lines.

    Humans served as fodder for him. Kids. Women. Oh, he’d been a regular sweetheart. Boy scout leader, community pillar. And he’d gotten away with it all. Stealing their spirits, compacting them until nothing was left, just fragmented tendrils reaching out to the universe for an avenger. For justice. If not for them, for the ones to come.

    The screams alone, the unuttered pleas, had brought him to the Board’s attention.

    My finger hovered over the lever. Annihilation. “And…you’d change it all if you could?”

    He shrieked. Perhaps the excruciating force that was vibrating around his body had something to do with it.

    “Oh god, yes. I’m sorry. I was a beast. An unutterable…” He screamed, as the force reacted to his lies by increasing proportionately in strength. It was a cool, natural phenomena that way. No wonder the Board had made agreements with the natural world for its use in….special situations.

    I flicked a glance at the screen. Messages from the forces of the earth, as to my next action. Judge and jury had decided.

    I glanced at the poor wretch. Sweat poured off him now, vacant eyes still full of hope. That his lies had worked. That even now he’d be set free, to go out and wreak his cruelty on other unsuspecting victims.


    “I just wanted to be sure.” I hit the lever.

    250 words

  11. “You okay?”

    My daughter nodded, a hand to her chest. I raised an eyebrow, not entirely convinced she was telling me the truth. Then, she let out a burp.

    “Well. Feel better?”

    She nodded again, a hand still on her chest. I have a feeling I know what’s coming next and sure enough, the hiccups set in. I bit back a laugh as her entire body shook with each spasm.

    “Oh god, I hate hiccups,” Priscilla groused, sucking in a breath.

    “I give you five seconds.”

    She burst out laughing, hiccupping a couple of times. I know my daughter and she can’t hold her breath to save her life. Asthma is genetic, apparently, and she got it from me in spades.

    “Damn you, dad,” she puttered, her royal blue hair standing on end today. “This sucks.”

    I started to laugh, as another round of hiccups assaulted her. “What did you eat?”

    “Nothing! Randi and I were having a pop guzzling contest and I won.”

    “That would do it. You do realize what carbonation does, right?”

    She burped again, on the heels of another hiccup. “I do now. Fuck.”

    She’s sixteen, she can swear around us. I continued laughing as Randi, her best friend, came downstairs, holding an empty Pepsi bottle.

    “You okay, Cilla?” Randi asked, as my daughter hiccupped again.

    “I’m-“ hiccup “-good.”

    “I just wanted to be sure.”

    Shaking my head I continued laughing. And, as if to spite me, I got the hiccups. I hate the hiccups.

    249 words

  12. P.U.R.E Adrenaline

    Colonel Marissa Sanchez had been a 22-year old barista the day the whole world went to hell and people started eating other people. It all seemed unreal, until the undead bastards swarmed her flyspeck hometown and started noshing on her friends and family. She headed for Dallas the next morning with the clothes on her back and a thirst for retribution.

    Now, two years later, she was a battle-hardened veteran of the Peoples’ Undead Resistance Expedition (P.U.R.E.). In that time, they had taken care of her needs both physical and visceral quite nicely.

    P.U.R.E Intel usually sucked and she didn’t expect any better this time but she’d seen living proof. The deadheads were leaving survivors behind. Nobody knew why but if that was the case here, her teams were to find and evacuate them.

    Disturbingly, they’d also started leaving “sleepers” behind. More than one unit had been lost finding a couple dozen undead playing possum amidst the scattered bodies. Marissa would not allow that to happen here.

    Rounding a corner, they ghosted forward with no resistance and no results. From her left, Marissa winced as she heard a meaty thunk. Turning, she saw Horatio “Tiny” Masters had just separated a head from a body with the enormous double-bitted axe he carried.

    With an embarrassed shrug, he whispered, “Thought he was eyein’ me funny. I just wanted to be sure.”

    With a sigh of exasperation, Marissa motioned him back into position and continued on. It was gonna be a long night.

    250 words @klingorengi

  13. Samantha screamed. Jimmy dropped his DS3D on the sofa and raced into the kitchen. “What? What is it, Sam? What happened? Are you OK?” Samantha was standing on a kitchen chair, pointing at the floor. She was so terrified, she couldn’t speak. All she could do was point.

    Jimmy looked where she was pointing. That’s when he saw it. A big, dark brown roach. He nearly laughed. Samantha and her fear of spiders and bugs. Especially bugs more than 1/4 inch long. He never would understand why she didn’t just step on them. Especially when she was wearing shoes.

    “OK, Sam. OK. I’ll get it. I’ll take care of it.” Jimmy dashed across the kitchen and then stomped that roach flat. “There. It’s dead, Sam. I got it for you.” He helped her down from the chair. “You gonna be OK?”

    Samantha nodded. “Yeah. I’ll be OK.” She gave Jimmy a hug. “Thanks.”

    “Any time, Sam. Any time.”

    Jimmy started back toward his DS3D on the sofa in the next room. As he did, he stopped and turned, because he heard Samantha stomping her foot several times. He looked at her, and at the totally destroyed, smeared on the floor, carcass of the roach. “Damn, Sam. What was that for?”

    “I just wanted to be sure that little bastard was dead.”

    Jimmy laughed so hard, his ribs hurt, and it took him 20 minutes before he could play his game again.

    249 Words

  14. The front door jingled, but my eyes never left the swirling coffee in front of me. I wished again that I’d said no. Booted footsteps stopped next to me. Then, he slid into the booth and ordered coffee though I know he never liked it.

    “How you been, Jo?” His once-silken voice was tattered, rough.

    I didn’t look up until I’d set the spoon down on the red Formica and lifted the cup. “What do you want, Sam?”

    “Just wanted to see you.” Graying hair had returned but the chemo had withered him. His U.S. Xenopathogen Eradication Agency jacket hung off his hollow frame. I choked on a surge of nostalgia.

    “Fine. You’ve seen me.”

    “What, no love left?”

    I took a long slow sip of hot bitterness to steel myself. “Guess not.”

    His wry half-smile warmed some forgotten piece of me. “They’ve reinstated me.”

    A flush of fear stopped my heart. “But you’re —”

    “Doesn’t matter, I’m the only one left.”

    “The X.E.A. did you boys wrong.” Bile rose as I remembered the vaccines, the missions, and the inevitable cancer.

    “I leave tonight.”

    “Then why are you here?” Anger covered my vulnerability.

    “I just wanted to be sure.”


    “Us.” He stood up and dropped a $20 bill on the table. “Was nice seeing you.” His finger stroked my hand as he left.

    As the door closed with grim finality, longing and regret flooded my eyes spilling onto my cheeks. I knew I’d never see him again.

    248 words

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


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