Thursday, May 16, 2013

#ThursThreads - The Challenge That Ties Tales Together - Week 71

 

Welcome back to the Weird, the Wild, & the Wicked and the second year of #ThursThreads flash fiction. So let's get started. It's Thursday again, and what should you be doing? Writing #FlashFiction, that's what! Welcome to Week 71 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 71:


Bibliophile, teacher, and hot biker chick, Betsy Kimmel.


So now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.

The Prompt:


“Is there something wrong?”

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! :)

22 comments:

  1. "Is there something wrong?"
    Trish looked at Callie and waited. Callie wanted to ignore the question, but she just couldn't. Mustering up the courage, she let the cat out of the bag.
    "Jake wants to break up with you..."
    A confused look appeared on Trish's face.
    "What?"
    Callie took a deep breath and continued. "He said you were too overbearing. That you always wanted to know where he was, what he was doing, who he was with...He said it was like you were trying to control his every move."
    Trish smiled, thinking this was all a joke. She laughed unconvincingly. "Wait...you're kidding right?"
    When Callie didn't smile back, Trish slumped into the seat beside her.
    "I thought it was going well. I mean...I thought we were getting along great."
    She started to cry. Callie reached over and pulled her into a hug.
    "Shhh...It's gonna be okay."

    150 words @bookwormattack
    I think I used the name Callie in another story I have done for this competition. Haha. Obsessed with it as a character name, I guess.

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    Replies
    1. That flowed very naturally, from the confused look onwards. Good work.

      Delete
  2. A shadowy, sickly, twisted mass appeared in the doorway. Molly gazed upon the creature, its yellow flesh hanging from its bones and its eyes hollow. It lurched a step toward her, moaning and gesturing.
    “Is there something wrong, Anderson?”
    The voice from the other side of the room startled her, and she turned to see an older woman in blue. The frown on her face seemed wildly inappropriate. Why was she not running away? She seemed almost wearied, as if she’d encountered this strange beast before.
    The creature gestured again, yet this time he seemed to be motioning Molly’s way. She shrank back, reaching down and grasping for anything that could protect her from its hideous visage.
    The woman in blue approached the creature, then slowly became aware that its attention was directed toward Molly. As their eyes met, her face transformed from mild annoyance to concern.
    “Little lady, you are awake!” the woman in blue cried as she ushered toward her.
    Molly recoiled in fear. What was this place?
    “It’s OK, honey. You are safe,” cooed the woman, but her words meant nothing with the creature looming behind her.
    The woman noticed her attention transfixed, and she nodded and softly whispered, “It’s OK. That’s just Anderson. He is harmless.”
    For several long moments they all just stared at one another, and then finally she mustered the courage to speak. “Where am I?” she asked plaintively.
    “The same place you’ve always been, Molly. The Western Psychiatric Institute of Pittsburgh.”
    249 words
    @rastrohman

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    1. Great twist at the end, made me lol :D

      Delete
  3. We had already finished eating, but Tom seemed a bit agitated.

    "Is there something wrong?" I asked.

    Tom grunted a bit.

    "Okay," I replied. "I hope you didn't mind eating early, tonight. I'm going to the theatre to see a P.G. Wodehouse play and I know how much the theatre bores you."

    Tom just grunted again and waved his arm.

    "I know. I know. You've never really had any interest in culture, although you did put up with it very well when we were dating."

    Once more, he gesticulated as though he found even the very thought of the theatre suffocating.

    "Well, don't you at least want to know what's playing?"

    He gave one more wave - a bit more rigidly, this time, as his neck and back arched uncontrollably and he collapsed on the floor with one last gasp for air.

    "Okay. I'll tell you. It's 'Strychnine in the Soup.' I hope you enjoyed it for dinner as much as I shall at the theatre."

    166 words
    @LupusAnthropos

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  4. Rissa turned up the collar on her coat in a vain effort to keep the icy tendrils of fog from touching her neck. Like a menacing caress they wrapped themselves around her throat and squeezed. A shiver went down her spine and she hastened her steps.

    It had been a mistake to leave the office this late. Not that she'd had much choice. The boss wanted the proposal for tomorrow, and she was already in the doghouse for having turned down his advances. She couldn't afford to give him a reason to sack her.

    Unease sat like a stone in her stomach at the thought of his menacing grin. Everyone said he was not a man to be crossed, but Rissa was not some bimbo who would spread her legs to keep her job. The rumors were just that—rumors. He couldn't possibly be one of 'them'.

    Still, she couldn't shake the feeling that she was being stalked. The darkness between the meagre pools of lights provided by the lamp posts seemed impossible to cross.
    The fine hair on her body rose and seconds later there was a whoosh of air that propelled her forward.

    She ran for her life, adrenaline pushing her on, until she collided with a solid wall of muscle.

    "Is there something wrong, Miss?"

    The man towered over her, his fangs glistening in the dim light, and Rissa swallowed her words of gratitude, as fear coiled her insides at the snarl behind her.

    "She's mine."

    249 words

    @mamaD8

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  5. The instant our eyes met, my breath caught in my throat. He was the black wolf in my vision, I was sure of it. But, how could that be? Was he some kind of werewolf? Swallowing hard, I glanced at Brent, stalling. “What did you see?”

    Brent studied me as intently as Michael was, and I quelled the urge to crawl under the pine branches. Then his lips curled upward as a wide grin overtook his expression. “You are a descendant of royalty, Rayne.”

    “What? How did you get that from the images we saw?”

    Brent’s head jerked up. “Oh, no. You don’t understand how it works. We each see different things when I’m connected to your essence. I see your past and those of your ancestors, your potential. What you see is more like…” He hesitated, looking for the right words. “Like a glimpse into the future. Why, what did you see?”

    Now I’ve done it. “Uhmm… “ My father’s words echoed in my head. Less is more. “A spider web, some wolves, and a big white crystal.”

    Brent frowned at me. “You can’t be any more specific than that? Is something wrong? Something you maybe are afraid to tell us you saw?”

    “No. I just don’t know what to tell you is all. It all went so fast. The web was made out of gold.” I shrugged and tried for a conversation redirection. “Let’s get back to that royalty thing.”


    @bexbrennan
    243 WIP Words

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  6. Dmitry peered down at the slender woman beside him as guilt took him under like a wicked riptide. Two hours ago he’d been blood spattered and wielding bleach with a cool, calm mannered that had to make him border on sociopath status. She moaned in her sleep, pressing her body closer as she nuzzled into his chest, almost as if she sensed his turmoil. I’m a bastard. Lila was the kind of girl you brought home to your mother, wifed, and procreated. She deserved more than life shackled to a mobster.

    “Is there something wrong?” The sleep worn voice washed over him like warm honey. “ I can feel your brain working overtime through the veil of sleep.” Her Southern twang was more prevalent when she was tired and he found himself charmed all over again.

    “Just trying to relax. Stressful day at work.”
    “I never knew running a dry cleaner business could be so difficult.”

    If you only knew what kind of cleaners we really where.
    “Yeah, when you cater to the wealthy you work on their time table.”

    “I guess… that’s true.” Yawning, she threw her slender leg over his. “No more thoughts about work. Time to sleep.”

    She placed a hand over his heart and the tension eased from him. This woman was magic, moon beams, and peace he’d given up on every having. Giving her up isn’t an option.

    @ShylaColt
    223 words

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  7. Sweet glory of all! She tasted better than she smelled and Retro closed his eyes, reveling in her glorious musk. His cock flexed with hard appreciation.

    “Is there something wrong, Retro?”

    He jerked back into the present and opened his eyes. Chris looked down her body at him, a lazy, sultry smile curling her lips. Fuck, I’m gonna explode with more of those looks.

    “No, ma’am. Just enjoying the gift of your body.”

    She grunted with amused understanding. “Oh, lover, you haven’t even begun enjoying yet.” She wiggled her hips, making Todd groan from behind her as he pulled the lace off her breasts. “Oh, God, Magic. Pinch them, please.”

    Jim didn’t know what was sexier. Magic’s hands fondling Chris’s soft mounds or the way she arched her back into them. His mouth watered and he grasped the sides of her lacy panties to drag them down her legs. Desperation to taste her hot cream urged him to seal his lips over her mound, stroking her core with his tongue.

    Hot, tangy flavor filled Jim’s mouth and he moaned along with Chris’s ecstatic wail as she rocked her hips on his face. He wrapped his hands around her ass, holding her right where he wanted her, and feasted.

    “Holy shit, Retro. That’s so fuckin’ hot.” Magic’s voice wrapped a sensual spell around them all and Jim’s balls tightened. This is what he’d always wanted. To share the woman he loved with a man he respected. Life had just gotten perfect.

    250 ineligible #WIP500 words
    @SiobhanMuir

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  8. Small Comforts

    Alec kept his back to the fire because he knew that the light would destroy his night vision. That didn’t stop him from listening though, and every time he heard Anna’s voice it drove another spike of bitterness into his heart. The world may have more or less ended, but not even Armageddon could help his love life.

    The cold seeped into his bones as he sat there, keeping watch. They were relatively safe, but these days safe didn’t mean much. Safe meant you could lay your gun across your lap instead of gripping it tightly. Safe meant you could risk the light of a fire so there was warmth and maybe even hot food. Tiny comforts in a cold, hard world.

    He sighed again and it almost muffled the sound of a footfall behind him. Almost. He whirled around and found himself face to face with Tina.

    “I heard you sigh. Is there something wrong?” she asked as she offered him a steaming mug of tea.

    “I guess I’m just on edge. Sorry.” He took the mug from her with gratitude. “Thanks.”

    “It’s cold out here, away from the fire. I thought you might need to warm up.” She followed him back to the log he’d been using as a bench and sat down beside him. “Feels like the whole world is cold these days.” Tina didn’t look at him as she laid her hand gently over his. “I don’t want to be cold anymore.”

    @capricia13
    246 words

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  9. Jennifer didn't flinch as she dipped her pale toes into the steaming water, her skin reddening instantly, the warmth travelling to every nerve ending as she sank her body deeper into the perfumed bubbles, completely submerged up to her chin.

    Looking into the mirror, Jennifer studied her face; flushed cheeks, usually pale and sunken, the steam, dampening her glossy, dark curls that plastered her forehead.

    “Here.” Cane stepped into the room, now a sauna and handed over a chilled glass of Merlot, condensation running down the stem. He watched her intently as he swirled the water with his hand. “Jennifer, is there something wrong? You seem occupied.” She sipped the wine, the chill returning quickly to her body, dissipating the last of her precious warmth. Not even her toes were wrinkled as she lifted her foot to examine it; just smooth, pale skin any woman would envy. But not Jennifer. She sighed heavily.

    “You knew what you were doing Jen.”

    “I know. I just didn't realise I’d miss the warmth of being human. I hate the coldness of us Cane. Why does it have to be so cold and clinical?”

    “It’s who we are. Vampires are cold and clinical, except of course when we are with our mate.” She met his gaze, her heart drumming loudly. Cane grinned, flashing fangs briefly, his chocolate eyes twinkling as she began to bubble and boil inside, feeling an intensity of heat a bath or human could never give.

    245
    @Lizzie_Loodles

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  10. I gagged down the phone.

    “Is there something wrong?”

    That’s what I like about Burt. Even with all the shit he has to deal with, he still keeps that tiny spark of optimism going. There’s always something wrong. Sometimes it’s little, sometimes it’s big. Sometimes it’s a thirty foot putrid whale carcass stinking up your back porch.

    “A what?”

    “You heard. Must have washed up in the storm last night. All I know is I woke up smelling like someone had thrown up in my mouth with that thing blotting out the sun.”

    I fought the urge to hurl my mobile into the rotting flesh just to mute the sound of Burt’s cackle. Right now I needed him – and I couldn’t afford a new phone.

    “Burt, you’re the ranger. Getting rid of him is your job!”

    “No can do, sweets, ‘leastways not until the next funding round – d’you know how much that kind of clean-up costs?”

    “Don’t know, don’t care. Either it goes, or I do.” I hung up before he could tell me I came in a poor second to a whale.

    Decomp had pulled the flesh back from the teeth into a rictus grin.

    “Dunno why you’re smiling,” I muttered to it. “You’re the only one around here having a worse day than I am.”

    TELL ME ABOUT IT.

    I froze. It was dead. High and stinking. I couldn’t be hearing it. Please tell me that shit wasn’t going to start all over again.

    @HayAddict 246 words

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  11. Kate Angel strode to her office door, while flipping through the edited version of Chained to Him, Blaze Harrington's first release with Angel Books. Kicking the door shut a with her black pointed toe pump, she slid her finger down the page finding the excerpt in question.

    Returning to her desk, she opened her Instant Messaging app, selected Mr. D and typed: What is Shibari?

    Tapping a French manicured nail on the surface of her desk, the blank return message field blinked back at her, taunting her naivety.

    A sharp knock broke her focus. Fumbling with her mouse, she minimized the instant message box.

    Her assistant, Alana, barreled in with the grace of a bull. "Katie, you gotta approve the Sizzling Summer promo materials today, they're due at the printshop."

    Ding.

    Kate's gaze settled on her screen where the instant massage box reappeared.

    Shibari is the act of rope bondage dating back centuries.

    Alana glanced at the screen but continued. "Every bookstore in the city will be running our promotion, isn't that exciting?"

    Ding.

    Kate's attention shifted back to the screen.

    It's a beautiful and sensual practice used in BDSM as a transference of trust and power. Take a look.

    Ding.

    Kate swallowed hard as a picture popped up of a beautiful woman with her hands bound in intricate knots along her body.

    Ding.

    You'd look amazing like this.

    Alana cleared her throat. "Kate, is there something wrong? You just got as pale as a ghost."

    246 WIP words
    @sandrabunino

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  12. Confession

    “Is there something wrong?”

    I ticked off salient points. “We’re in Las Vegas, which in and of itself was an abominable decision. You hit on possibly the only woman in the bar who shouldn’t go anywhere with you, much less to your room for a quickie. Which you did after losing your part of the travel fund attempting to impress her.”

    He interrupted. “She has a name.”

    I opened my arms. “Look at all the fucks I don’t give. Why? Because you didn’t check to see if her name came with a ‘missus’ in front of it before you played tonsil hockey by the elevators!”

    “She wasn’t wearing a ring.” A weak protest, best ignored.

    “No, she was dripping with diamonds, including sewn into her goddamned dress. Was that not a clue?”

    “Sexist of you. She could have bought those herself.”

    I snorted. “Women are generally smart enough to invest their money elsewhere, because they know how to show themselves off with more class and less danger. Jewels are bought by their very well-connected husbands, should they be lucky enough – or un – to have such.”

    “You’re just jealous.”

    I took a deep breath.
    Two.
    Didn’t help.
    Another.
    Little better.
    I let it out slowly.

    “No, you fucking moron. I’m pissed off that you put me in this situation.”

    “I’m sorry,” he mumbled.


    And that, officer, is why I shot my brother in the ass. I did not, however, shoot the guy in the bathtub. I just borrowed his gun.

    @rrkovar
    250 words

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  13. Fighting Fear


    No way. No way in hell.

    Song watched the projected images pushing down panic. Slides of the mission terrain flashed along with pictures of the hostages. The Captain relayed the details. Sweat trickled down her back. Song folded her arms to cover rubbing sweaty palms on her sleeves. Her stomach roiled and nausea beat at her throat. She missed hearing the time the volunteers would deploy.

    Doesn’t matter. No way am I jumping out of a perfectly good airplane with a pillowcase on my back.

    Song bolted for the door only to have her way blocked. Duke. The only man in the world who could push her buttons.

    “What do we have here?” His drawl grated on her nerves. The annoyance of his presence pushed back her queasiness. “Miss Song not going on a mission? Is there something wrong? You missing your big chance to show me up? Looks like I’m the right ‘man’ for the job – again.” He grinned - the shit-eating grin he always wore when baiting others.

    Face hot, Song’s hands curled. The pounding in her ears pushed back the fear and nausea.

    He’s pushing you. You know it. You don’t have to do it.

    Duke blew her a kiss.

    Her fist moved in a blur. In a flash, Duke was on the floor, nose bleeding heavily. Breathing heavier, Song marched back into the briefing room.

    “I’m in.” She held out a shaking hand for her orders.

    No way in hell am I ever doing this again.


    250 Words without title
    @theresabreaux

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  14. Study

    Sandra looked around the tiny study, glancing over the paltry collection of cheap literature and wrinkling her nose in distaste.

    "Is there something wrong?" Charles asked.

    "Seriously? Is this the extent of your research?"

    Charles laughed. "Hell no, the library's through the back of the house, but I always bring people here first."

    "Oh I see, to show them that you're an ordinary guy, down to earth, so that they trust you?" she enquired, raising an eyebrow.

    "That's right." he replied, a twinkle in his eye. "You catch on quickly."

    "No shit. Ok, so what now?"

    "Well, now you accept the absurd amount of money I'm throwing at you and we head to the library so I can show you my research."

    She couldn't help but smile, if a little wryly. "Ok, so let's go."

    Raising an eyebrow and smiling, he got up out of his desk chair and walked out of the study.

    ***
    @Theimaginator20
    154 words

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  15. With each powerful kick, my fins made purchase with water. I looked up through 50 feet of it, but wasn’t getting an inch closer to the surface or the air I so desperately needed. Hands gripped my legs, pulling me down. I struggled, kicking harder, trying to escape his hold.
    I was writhing in the terror only those who can’t get their next breath understand. And then I was looking through a mask at hazel eyes. Infuriatingly calm hazel eyes.
    Stavis held up his hand, his index finger touching his thumb and the other three fingers splayed out, then nodded his head toward me. His voiceless query, “Is everything okay?”
    Jerking my head from side to side, I made a slashing motion across my throat. I didn’t need a mirror to know my eyes looked fried eggs. I pointed at my now useless regulator. If I’d had any air left, I’d have breathed a sigh of relief when he reached for his octopus.
    I sucked in air like a pig. Nothing had ever felt better against my lips. My heart slowed and I calmed down. I felt Stavis’s firm grip on my hand. Even at depth, in the cold, warmth flushed my body. Maybe one thing had felt better against my lips. Stavis’s lips.
    After our controlled ascent, he pulled out his regulator. “Sure you’re okay?”
    My voice was sheepish when I said, “Yep. And I’ll check my pressure gauge more often from now on.”

    @teresa_willow 249 words

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  16. Title: Oldbridge
    Author: J.M. Mendur

    “Is there something wrong?” she asked.

    I hesitated. “No,” I said. Then more forcefully. “No. Just an odd feeling. It’s gone now.”

    “Okay,” she said. “Anyway, Charlie’s one of ours. I have no idea why he settled here in the boonies but, outside of Boston and Providence, he’s the only option in this region of the country. So, do you like Oldbridge or do you want to go back to the city?”

    “I think the peace and quiet in a small town like this will give me the time I need to sort things out,” I said, carefully suppressing any tell that I was lying.

    She looked around, her distaste evident. She was a city girl. She shrugged. “It’s your life. You know best. Let’s get you settled in your apartment and then I’ll introduce you to your new boss.”

    I nodded but my mind was elsewhere. Against all odds, there was a Waypoint nearby. I’d sensed it even without a Waystone. Yes, I needed to stay in Oldbridge. “Sounds great,” I said.

    ~~~
    Author’s Note: 173 words, written for Thursday Threads using the prompt: “Is there something wrong?” This is another bit of backstory to a character whose stories I have not yet written, the same character from the story I wrote on Tuesday called “How I Got Here”: http://jmwandering.wordpress.com/2013/05/14/how-i-got-here/. My mind has been particularly focused on this character this week for some reason. I hope you enjoyed this peek backstage into my protagonist’s character development.
    @JMwandering

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  17. Sitting at my desk in a windowless room with ugly green tiles, I tried to process the phone call from my father. My mom had cancer. And she didn’t have a lot of time left. I’ve only known my parents for 35 years and now mom’s going to be taken away from me? I lost ten years with my parents because of my stupidity.

    Looking up when my door opened, I turned, grabbing a tissue. But I couldn’t ignore my visitor when I felt a familiar hand on my shoulder. After a deep breath, I turned to face my manager.

    “Is something wrong?” Sean asked, settling into the visitors chair.

    “M-mom was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. She’s got about s-six months left.”

    Sean grabbed me into a hug and let me cry. I don’t care if I’m supposed to be tough; even my dad was crying and he’s 91.

    “Have you called Jacoby?”

    I shook my head. “No. Dad just called. And Jack’s out on an ambulance run.”

    I sat back as Sean stood. “He’s back now, I’ll go get him.”

    I nodded, as he slipped out the door. I looked at the most recent picture of my mom and me sitting on my desk. It was taken last summer when my husband and I were home for a visit. Settling into my husband’s embrace a few minutes later, I cried. Life isn’t fair sometimes.

    237 words
    @Aightball

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  18. Marcia yelped, and then stuck her finger in her mouth, tasting the blood that was just now trickling out from the tip. The knife fell on the cutting board, knocking disks of carrots onto the floor with distant thumps. He wouldn't care, she knew, that she’d hurt herself rushing to make dinner after work, and he wouldn't care about her dickhead boss, the incompetent traffic cop, or the pounding between her temples that beat an ever-faster staccato rhythm of pain into her eyes.

    The blood hadn't stopped yet, and she was afraid to pull her finger out and see what the damage really was. There’s no way he’d let her get away with a trip to the ER, not tonight of all nights.

    She was so focused on the pain that she didn't heard him open the door or call her name, once, twice, and then again. She did feel his hand on her shoulder, and heard the menace in his voice as he spoke again, words that to anyone else would have sounded concerned. “Is there something wrong?”

    There was, but it didn’t last much longer. The knife, sharp as it was, easily pierced his abdomen, and once she’d had her fill of his blood, the pounding in her head went away.

    213 words
    @drmagoo

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  19. It was the double-take I noticed first—a slight jerk of the head as he passed—not enough to qualify as rubbernecking, but definitely more than idle curiosity. Visitors were rare in the sleepy little town where my parents lived. Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains, chewing tobacco outsold cigarettes and folks still preferred headache powders to tablets. I had limped home to the nest unemployed with a Marketing degree as a mockery.

    “You've gotta be kidding me. Who is that man?” I asked my mother with a nod of my head in the direction Mr. Curious had taken.

    “That’s the new Minister of Music, Malcolm Hudson. Took the job a couple of months ago. Is there something wrong?"

    I glanced up at the podium, to study Malcolm. A divet in his chin only visible at certain angles conjured up naughty secular activities. Impure thoughts flooded my brain, not unlike those that got Hester Prynne into trouble. I might have cheated on my lout of a husband if the good Reverend Dimsdale had looked like Malcolm Hudson, especially knowing what I knew about him.

    But honestly, what were the odds that the man I picked up in an adult bookstore nearly fifty miles away for a raucous weekend in my bed would turn out to be the choir director at my parent's church.

    "Nothing's wrong. You wouldn't happen to have a headache powder on you, would you?"

    @iris_st_clair
    Word count = 241

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

    ReplyDelete

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