Thursday, January 17, 2013

#ThursThreads - The Challenge That Ties Tales Together - Week 54


Welcome back to the Weird, the Wild, & the Wicked and a whole new year of #ThursThreads flash fiction. So let's get started. It's Thursday again, so what should you be doing? Writing #FlashFiction, that's what! Welcome to Week 54 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 as written 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 54:


The light, sweet, dark, deadly suspense author, and second time judge, CR Moss.


So now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.

The Prompt:


“That is what gives me hope.”

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! :)

18 comments:

  1. “She’s much better today. She isn’t mumbling anymore, “the nurse said.
    “That catatonic state she was in made her do that,” answered the other nurse.
    “Do you have a lot of these?”
    “A few, this is a psychiatric ward.”
    “What does she keep mumbling?”
    “Be afraid.”
    “What is her delusion?”
    “She’s probably bi-polar. She keeps mumbling about angels and demons.”
    “That man who keeps flashing me isn’t fun either.”
    “Don’t worry you’ll get used to the job.”
    “That’s what I’m afraid of. What’s up with her roommate?”
    “Nothing, she’s a biter that’s all.”
    “That’s all?”
    “It’s a condition just like any other. Let’s go into the room and check on her.”
    “You really can’t see the daylight in this building, but I think the sun sets.”
    “That is what gives me hope.”
    “You don’t make any sense!” the nurse protested.
    “Let’s check on that patient.”
    Sometime later an alarm sounded and a security guard responded. The security guard found one the nurses dead, the patient rooms open and the patients drained of all their blood. One of the doctors, declared the patient that was missing delusional and that they thought they were a vampire; but we know the true story don’t we?
    @SweetSheil
    202 words

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi there Siobhan and CR! Here's my contribution:

    Jake strode into the empty gallery swiftly moving from room to room until his eyes rested upon the back of her slight frame sitting in front of an imposing white canvas. She squared her shoulders as he approached, the only indication she was aware of his presence.

    “You left without saying good-bye,” he said plainly.

    Her shoulders rose and fell with a long sigh. The creak of her stool echoed off the walls of the small studio as she turned to face him. Her eyes were drawn downward to the palate of oil paints. Deep shades of crimson and indigo flanked the spot of the deep violet pigment she dabbed with the blunt brush. A single tear fell down her cheek as her eyes flicked up to meet his stare.

    “That place… it brings back so many memories I’m just not prepared to relive,” she said and averted her gaze back to her paints.

    “So you’re going to hide here behind an empty canvas and paint life instead of living it?” he asked, waving his hand at the stark canvas.

    “That is what gives me hope.” She turned around, drew her hand up and applied the first stroke of a brilliant purple streaked with blood red.

    206 words
    @sandrabunino

    ReplyDelete
  3. “The year I was born, your country had won its Revolutionary War and ratified its Constitution in nine of the first thirteen colonies.”

    “But…how can you live so long? Aren’t you human?” Who was this guy Sabrina had fallen for?

    “I am. My people are known as the Kaerians, a race of long lived human warriors who have served the Fae kingdoms for millennia.” Darius shrugged with one shoulder. “I believe they’d taken our people with them because we possessed earth magic, a connection to the Goddess they didn’t have, and wished to cultivate.”

    Sabrina bit her lip and Darius groaned. “But I’m just a regular human with an eighty to one hundred year lifespan, and I’m thirty-two years into it. Most likely, I’ll day way before you.” It might not be a deal breaker, but certainly something to consider.

    “Sabrina, I have seen over two centuries worth of life, and nothing has brought me more joy than being with you for the week I spent here at Beltane.” He rolled his body over hers, bracing himself on his elbows as he held her face in his hands. “If we only have fifty more years together, I’ll value them more than the previous two hundred.” He brushed her lips with his own. “Besides, I suspect the Goddess’s blessing to us on Beltane was more far reaching than we will ever know, and that is what gives me hope for our union.”

    “You think She made our lifespans equal?”

    “I wouldn’t put it past Her.” Darius dipped his head and kissed Sabrina’s lips with seductive tenderness. “So let us celebrate Her gift in the best way.” And he slid his cock into her slick pussy, balls deep.

    287 ineligible #WIP500 words (cuz I'm the host and can't win anyway ;) )
    @SiobhanMuir

    ReplyDelete
  4. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”
    I sent a curious glance toward my sister. “What do you mean? I’m reading the back of this book. Why?”
    You really aren’t going to buy that drivel are you?” Her disapproval was etched across her finely sculpted features. “It’s filth.”
    My shoulders stiffened. “Hey, I like erotica. Sue me.”
    She gave her blonde tresses a shake and notched her chin. “Whatever. It’s not like the stuff you read in those things ever happens to anyone. Not really.”
    Mary always acted like she was better than me, so her reaction wasn’t surprising. Annoying, sure, but no shock. “Why do you give a whit what I do with my spare time?” I tucked the book under my arm. “I’m getting it. It looks hot.”
    “Ever since you dumped Steve, all you do is read these smutty books. What can you possible get from it, besides sexual frustration?”
    “It’s interesting.”
    She blew out a sigh and pulled me toward the front of the store. “One of theses days, I am going to wash my hands of you completely.”
    I trailed behind her, a smile curling my lips. "That is what gives me hope."

    199 words
    @bexbrennan

    ReplyDelete
  5. Man on a Mission


    “This is insane,” Jake groused. “You know that, right?”

    “I figured out you felt that way the fourth time you mentioned it,” Ian shot back. He had set a blistering pace, and Jake struggled just to keep up.

    “So where exactly are we going again?”

    “Emma’s Flowers. I need a dozen blue roses and that’s the only place in town that sells them.”

    “And this mission we’re on doesn’t allow for driving or taking a cab because…?”

    “Because it’s a pilgrimage of sorts. Emma’s Flowers, take-out from Dragon Garden, and cupcakes from the Gilded Cookie. All places we went when we first started dating.

    “So we’re on a forced march version of a stroll down memory lane?” Jake rolled his eyes. “Later on, when you’re not in danger of blowing up your love life, we need to talk about the places you’re hanging out these days. The Gilded Cookie? Really? You’re going to lose your man card going to places like that.”

    Ian turned and shrugged. “Wait until it’s your turn to fall in love, then you’ll understand.”

    “Yeah, so you keep telling me. So once we get all these gifts together, then what?”

    “Then I need to buy her a ring.”

    “A ring? As in THE ring? You think that’s how to win her back?

    Ian nodded. “I know it is. All if this is the build up. The ring? That is what gives me Hope.”

    “This is a really bad time to start breaking out the puns, buddy.”

    250 Words
    @capricia13

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  6. Escape Plan.

    I aimed the sawn off shotgun at the shopkeeper.

    "Give me all your money!"

    The elderly man looked at the gun, his eyes crossing slightly as he took in the twin barrels of death that loomed before him.

    "What the hell are you doing, Evan?" he asked, his brow furrowed slightly. "Does your mother know where you are?"

    Why'd he have to go and bring her into this? "Shut up, Mr. Grayson," I said, pushing the weapon toward his face. "Just do what I asked and things won't have to get ugly."

    Unfazed, the shopkeeper picked up the telephone beside him. “I’ll just call her to let her know where you are.”
    I moved the gun to the side and squeezed the trigger, sending one barrel full of shot into the row of liquor bottles on the wall behind the old man.

    That got his attention.

    “I can’t let you do that,” I said. “Now give me the money and this second barrel won’t come at you.”

    Carefully, he put the phone back on the cradle and opened the cash register. His hands were trembling as he removed the day’s takings. It looked to be no more than $150, not a lot really but more than enough for a ticket out of this bullshit town.

    Grayson held the cash up and I snatched it from him then backed out of the store.

    I had to get away.

    Freedom. That is what gives me hope.

    244 Words
    @GZidar

    ReplyDelete
  7. INVINCIBLE

    The constant beep of the heart monitor was the only sign that Jalel was still alive. His razed body hung by a thread in the sterile recovery room. His eyelids fluttered and Gerard felt the change in the room. He was awake.
    “Welcome back,” said Gerard. “You survived… obviously.”
    Jalel’s lips parted and his voice strained to make the words, “What… happened… to them?”
    “You killed them. As I expected you would.”
    “All of them?” Gerard could see the dismay in Jalel’s eyes, even though they were swollen to angry slits.
    “Yes. All of them.”
    “I remember… some of it,” Jalel croaked. “They attacked me. Ran my jeep off the road. Then the guns. So many of them.”
    Gerard tapped his cane on the tile floor absentmindedly. He hated to say “I told you so” to such a nice young man, but Jalel didn’t believe him; wouldn’t believe him.
    “My soul is tarnished with blood. They planned this from the beginning. You were telling the truth. I am the anti-Christ.”
    “Both sides will try to use you, Jalel. They’ll try to change who you are in your heart. For their own selfish reasons. Don’t let them.”
    Jalel turned his head, impossibly slow, and focused on the old man.
    “I won’t. I swear it.”
    Gerard sighed with relief, “That is what gives me hope.”

    223 words
    @zombiemechanics

    ReplyDelete
  8. He held the picture in his hand as tears rolled down his face. He sat alone looking out the window at the tire swing swaying in the cold December breeze remembering the sound of her tiny voice. It was almost like she was there, pumping her tiny legs and leaning back until her blonde hair touched the worn ground beneath the swing.

    “I know it doesn’t seem like it now but she’s in a better place Kyle.” He felt the large hand of his Father squeeze his shoulder.

    “I know Dad and that’s what gives me hope.” Kyle choked back the sobs that tried to fight their way out every time he spoke. “It gives me hope that we’ll be together again someday.”

    “You will son, we all will. Just remember that God took her to be with him, the cancer was simply the tool”

    “Don’t give me that shit Dad. Not right now. If God is there then he let me baby suffer for eight months while that fucking disease ate her from the inside out. No, I believe there is a place we all go after death but if God is there I’ll kick his ass.” He was almost yelling now and he heard everyone in the other room grow quiet.

    “Sit down, I know it hurts boy, but you can lay down and die with her or you can keep living for her. Keep her memory alive. What’s it going to be?”

    “I just don’t know yet.”

    SE_ADAMS_
    Word Count: 250

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  9. The Decision

    They watched from the Heavens as the mortals moved about their daily lives, trying to make the decision with which they had been tasked.

    On a street corner, a man walked by a young woman dressed in thin rags, shivering with cold. She asked him politely for spare change, but he pretended not to see her, in a hurry to see his mistress.

    In another city gunshots sounded, as gang members tried to rid the streets of one another. A child was caught in the crossfire, and lay dying in the mud, as the general population passed by, trying not to get hit.

    Elsewhere, a boy stole money from his mother’s purse, in order to purchase the toy she had refused to by him.

    “There is nothing redeeming in this species,” said the first Being, seeing only hatred and self-love. “They should be removed immediately.” It raised a huge hand, ready to rain down death and destruction upon the human race.

    “Wait…” said the second Being. “Look there.” It pointed to a hospital where an exhausted mother cared for her terminally ill daughter with tenderness in her hands and heart.

    To a family that had little, but shared what they had with those less fortunate.

    Lastly, to a field where children of several different races and religions played together, laughing in with joy.

    “That is what gives me hope for them. They just need a little more time to grow and learn the error of their ways.”

    “Very well…for now.”

    250 words {without title}
    @Angelique_Rider

    ReplyDelete
  10. After The Fall

    With a firm hold on the country, the new Dictator took control of everything. Supply lines had been severed to the outer areas of the nation, as the bulk of goods were shipped to Washington for the gluttony of the wealthy and the sheikh elite friends of the President.

    Everyone knew there was no hope and often spoke of it within their homes. No one went outside anymore except to hunt for food or wood to keep their families from dying. Looking out of a broken window through the milky plastic film that kept the wind out, Mildred watched a family dragging by, clutching their babies close to their chests, and dragging their possessions behind them.

    Mildred’s youngest grabbed a handful of her coattail as he watched the wretches with her sorrowed eyes. “We have two weeks of food, Momma. Why don’t you ever offer it to any of the families like that?”

    “If we gave away a little of our food to everyone, we wouldn’t have any left for ourselves.”

    “Could we give them just a little to take with them, Momma? Not a lot. Just enough so they wouldn’t be hungry.”

    “No, Baby. If we feed them once, they’ll never leave. A nice dog would be nice, but not a family of four.”

    “But Momma, they will die.”

    “Yes, Baby. Yes, they will. That’s what gives me hope. Fewer mouths to feed means that the woods won’t be empty so fast.”

    “Now go sit down and eat your dinner.”


    Greg Nance - @acenance

    250 Cold-Hearted Words

    ReplyDelete
  11. Who worked at a bank
    Who was drenched in sweat
    Who would feed the birds
    In a Disney movie

    Cortierre, on his off days and his days off, made a habit of thinking in “Whos” as he observed the people around them, which boxed them into passing characters and allowed no desire to further interact with them.

    Who made a habit…

    It was how he operated.

    “What does your name mean?”

    Who was sitting on a park bench, thumbing through LINGUISTIC ORIGINS

    Who looked like his niece

    “Don’t you have school?”

    “Teacher work day.”

    Who spent her day off talking to strangers.

    “Well what does YOUR name mean?”

    “My first name means Light and my last name is a hand-me-down of ‘Son of a Roman.’ But I already knew that.”

    “Do you like doing that, giving meaning to things by their origins?”

    “Yeah.”

    “I don’t think that’s very fair.”

    “What isn’t?”

    “Giving everything a meaning by its name. I just dismiss people with a single observation. It leaves the rest of them free.”

    “It’s the same thing. We do the same thing.”

    “We do not.”

    “I’m weird. I get that.”

    “No--“

    Who interrupted him

    “You’re weird too. Not everyone does that thing we do. Quantifying with words.”

    “No one does what we do. It’s a miracle we happened to run into each other. An odd and detached miracle.”

    “That is what gives me hope.”

    Who responded to that one thing he said

    But maybe

    Who meant the other

    249 Words
    @SareeseFeet

    ReplyDelete
  12. “Let him go.”

    I wrapped myself in a façade of serenity and watched the closed-circuit television with a detachment that amazed me. Dane paced inside the cage, more restless animal than civilized man. I needed to get him out of here before anyone realized the animal comparison was far more than a metaphor.

    “You understand what you’re dealing with here?” The detective’s voice held a wealth of disbelief. “The odds of an abuser having his come-to-Jesus moment and turning over a new leaf are slim to none, miss.”

    From the arresting officer, to the paramedics, to the detective now pleading with me—the assumption of abuse covered a reality these people would find even more terrifying. I hated it, but the truth opened worlds of questions and trouble. Stuff only Fox Mulder could save us from.

    “I understand,” I said. “Thank you for your concern.”

    I didn’t see a fictional FBI agent racing to uncover the truth of the dimensionally displaced. Or helping us get home.

    So the rescue fell to me.

    “Release him.”

    “Maybe you should press charges,” he said. He touched my hand, at once gentle and desperate. He counted the lost, carried them in his soul, I knew. “We’ll hold him and you can just think about it for a few days.”

    “I don’t need to think.”

    “He’s a monster on the inside,” he said.

    “No,” I said. “On the outside.” I squeezed his hand. “I know you don’t understand, but that is what gives me hope.”

    @caramichaels
    250 #WIP500 words

    ReplyDelete
  13. The Walk

    "We're walking in circles, look."
    Emma bent down to retrieve the piece of fabric snared on the bush. It matched the rip in her dress perfectly, and whatever protest Lu was going to make died on her lips.
    "Oh bother this. I was sure it was this way. The waterfall is just over there. I tell you, it is."
    "Sure it is and there are two nymphs waiting for us too, who just happen to be drop dead gorgeous men, ready to sweep us of our feet and fuck us until we can't see straight."
    Lu smiled and shrugged her shoulders, and Emma sat down on the nearest tree stump. She knew that smile, and it always meant her outrageous friend was up to no good.
    "Okay, I am not moving one inch further until you tell me, what the hell is going on. And I want the truth this time."
    "Would I lie to you?" Lu shifted her feet and wouldn't look at her. "Okay, the truth this time. But before I do, let me just say, I did this with the best of intentions."
    Emma sighed, and crossed her arms.
    "That is what gives me hope. Because if I truly believed you did this out of spite today of all days, then—"
    The rustle behind stopped her. She swung round and her mouth went dry, as two of the most gorgeous, naked, and aroused men she had ever seen stepped out from the trees.
    "Happy Birthday, Emma."

    250 words @mamaD8

    ReplyDelete
  14. His eyes stared up at me, wide with fear, his perspiration shining in the candle light. He couldn’t have been more than fifteen, his face an awkward mix of boy and man.

    I smoothed the hair from his forehead and held his hands as the surgeon began the amputation. His scream, even muffled by the leather bit in his mouth, filled the tent, my ears.

    He struggled against me. The same eyes now pleaded, begging me to stop the pain. His throat bulged, his face reddened. Finally he slumped back onto the pillow, unconscious.

    The surgeon stood up right, the infected, offending limb in his hand.

    “Fetch my needle and silk thread; we need to seal off the vessels.”

    I hesitated.

    “It’ll be okay, girl. Go, fetch the needle before all of this has been for not.”

    I willed my hands to release my grip and gathered the requested supplies.

    The doctor was quick with his stitching. I helped him wrap the wound. “He’s so young,” I said and drew up the blanket.

    “Aye, that he is.” The doctor searched his bloodied apron for a clean inch to wipe his hands, then rubbed his eyes. “That is what gives me hope for his recovery.”

    He patted my shoulder.

    “Laudanum will help with the pain if he wakes, I’ll check him in the morning”

    I nodded, biting my lip to keep the tears at bay. I knelt by the bed and did the only I could think of. I prayed.

    WC - 249 words
    @RevolutionaryVJ

    ReplyDelete
  15. BIDING TIME

    The island sun’s so hot I feel I’m boiling in my own skin. Sea breezes and palm shade help a little, until the humidity settles back in like a wool blanket. My sense of touch has been deadened by scorching sand and my vision obscured by intrusive light. I now find it ironic I had once planned to honeymoon on the next island over.

    It took a month for me to shed the robes of civilization, mostly because I knew once I did there would be no further comfort I could provide myself on this island prison. I have committed crimes most heinous, for which banishment was my sentence. Stripped of my power and left to reflect on what I have done, some hope my time in exile will inspire me to repentance, others merely hope to never see me again.

    But it isn’t enough; for me to rot or repent here where none can see. It may be months, years, or even decades, but eventually someone will come. They will come to see with their own eyes what has become of the vanquished villain. That is my chance.

    That is what gives me hope.


    195 words
    @DavidALudwig

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  16. The forest had been so confining that they hadn't even realized they were nearing the clearing until they stepped into it. Not only had the trees concealed the open sky, but it had kept them from noticing the smoke rising from the cabin that lay in the center of the meadow. Simon and Emily hadn't seen another person for so long that they had given up hope of finding anyone left alive this far into the future.

    The man sitting on the porch of the rough-hewn cabin waved them on, and stood to meet them. He looked at the umbrella Simon carried in his hand, and he smiled.

    "Oh, it found someone! I've been wondering for so long..."

    Simon felt like he'd been struck by lightning. "You? You made the umbrella? How? Why? Why me?"

    The man nodded, and brought his hands together in front of his chest in an expression of childlike glee. "I did, I did. As for how, and why, I would love to share that with you. Please, won't you join me? I have some stew that's been cooking since this morning, and it's been a very long time since I've shared a meal.

    "As for why you, why it found you, ah, that will remain a mystery, I suspect. But you are here. It works. And that is what gives me hope.”

    227 words
    @drmagoo

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

    ReplyDelete

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