Thursday, August 29, 2013

#ThursThreads - The Challenge That Ties Tales Together - Week 85


Welcome back to the Weird, the Wild, & the Wicked. Wow, where did half the year go? It's Thursday again, so what should you be doing? Writing #FlashFiction, that's what! Welcome to Week 85 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 85:


Obscure movie lover, RPG player, and fantasy author, Daniel Swensen.

 

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

“How much is this one worth?”

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!

16 comments:

  1. Reposted to fix an annoying typo that would drive me nuts for the next 24 hours...

    “I’m feeling magnanimous this morning, so I shall hear you out. What is your condition, my bold little Alice?”

    Alice refused to allow his highhanded attitude to deter her. “On the condition you set a price on the care and hospitality you’re offering to my family. Right here. Right now. Regardless of how long it takes my father to recover.”

    “Hrmm…” He folded his arms over his chest. “A match of ‘how much is this one worth’ could be fun. Of course the cost of your father’s care would depend heavily on just how sick he is.” He rubbed his chin, considering. “It would be far more than you could ever afford, I’m certain.”

    It was all she could do to keep her anger in check. To spit her next words when all she wanted to do was sink a fist into his smug face. "Perhaps, but you will also need to agree that if I am able to raise the amount you name, to repay you for your -- kindness -- to my father before my time to stand at the dragon’s altar, you will let both Papa and I go, and hold no ill will against us.”

    His laughter bounced off the stone walls. “You amuse me, Alice. I’ve not laughed like this in months. For that reason alone, I shall forget I'm the Prince of Dravenfall and the one who makes the rules and not the one who follows them. I'll play along with your little game.”

    @bexbrennan
    250 WIP words

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  2. I watched as the elderly woman poked and prodded her way through the polo shirts that covered the folding table. She stopped when she found the red one with the tiny monogrammed lettering on the front then pulled it out and held it up in front of her.

    I could see him wearing it even as the woman checked it over, his broad chest and shoulders stretching it tight then the creases as it narrowed and disappeared into the waistband of the white shorts he wore that morning. It was his favorite shirt, his lucky shirt he said. It was too big in the waist, as were all his shirts because of the way he was built, but he still managed to look good and for a moment I could see him standing right in front of me.

    “Excuse me?”

    I must have looked confused since I never heard her say a word

    “How much is this one worth to you?”

    I stared at the dark red shirt hanging limply in her wrinkled hand, thought of the handsome man now buried beneath twenty feet of dirt in the Cedar Grove Cemetery and gently took it from her.

    “Too much to let it go I’m afraid.”

    Without looking back I returned everything I had placed on the table safely back inside the cardboard box that I had dragged to the flea market that morning.

    Maybe next month, I thought as I pulled from the parking lot and headed towards home.

    249 words
    @AuthorCAKeane

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  3. The bald man in the black, cowled robe walked around the glass cube, his steps slow and deliberate. The naked girl huddled in the center watched warily from beneath her tangled hair.

    “How much is this one worth?” The high priest of the Consecrated licked flaccid lips, the gesture greedy and obscene.

    “Depends. To Madame Mim at the sex club? A hundred thousand credits. She’s untouched.” The merchant hid his smile as the priest’s breathing accelerated. “To the Wolves of Lycanthra? The bounty upon her head—two hundred thousand. To the Regent of √Čirinn? The throne—so long as she remains untouched.”

    “Deflower her and our problems are solved.”

    “Deflower her and the Wolves will hound you to the ends of the Federation and beyond. Their hunters are relentless.”

    “Then we have a dilemma on our hands.”

    The merchant shuttered his expression. “I suppose you have a solution?”

    The cleric stroked pudgy, bejeweled fingers along the satin sash staining his chest with the color of blood. “Kill her.”

    “The Old Gods will take offense, given her lineage.”

    “The Old Gods are dead.”

    “So the Consecrated would have us believe.”

    The priest swelled with righteousness and glared. “You are an Unbeliever?”

    “No. Simply a practical man.”

    “You would be well paid.”

    “I’d have to survive to spend the credits. She is not worth my life, but yours?” A srac, the bladed weapon of a Lycanthran assassin, appeared in his hand and blood spurted

    The merchant nodded to the girl. “Debt paid.”

    250 words (inspired by a SciFi/Fantasy I should revisit)

    @SilverJames_

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  4. I shuffled deeper into the cedar-spiced musk of the apothecary’s shop, Jack hovering at my side. A bottle of violet glass caught my eye among the dusty shelves and cobwebs, and I waggled my pinkie in its direction lest the withered woman behind the counter notice my interest.

    “How much is this one worth?”

    Jack tilted his head, read the swooping characters on the handwritten label, and scoffed. "Not as much as she's asking."

    "But what price,” interrupted the apothecary, “would you put on your wife's life?"

    We looked at one another, and then turned.

    The wrinkles carving the old woman’s round face had vanished. Her once gnarled hands had softened around the emerald vial she cupped and the inked brush she held. Sunlight poured through her shop’s open door, hushing the passing crowds, and wrapping us in a moment of quiet, of stillness, of peace.

    My hand drifted for my purse but Jack snatched my wrist. I met his hard gaze, his rigid jaw.

    "We've tried everything else," I whispered, "what's the worse it could do?"

    The answer flitted across his face but so did the truth. He released my wrist and wrapped an arm around my waist as if to keep me close or help me stay standing. I suppose he did both and would for as long as he could. With my weakening heart bashing with hope, I plucked the last notes from my wallet and laid them on the counter.

    "I'll take it."

    ----

    247 words
    @kathleen_magner or kathleen.a.magner@gmail.com

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  5. “How much is this one worth?” I held up a plain gold band.

    “That one might get you about $10…to really make money off gold you need quite a lot of it.”

    I nodded, hanging my head. All I wanted to do was propose to my boyfriend but I wasn’t exactly rolling in dough. Sure being an EMT means I make good money, but it turns out engagement rings are expensive. And since gay marriage isn’t even a thing yet, I have to get a wedding band instead of a true engagement ring.

    “I see. Well, thanks anyway.”

    I walked out into the hotter than normal Nebraska summer and sighed. My boyfriend and I haven’t been together long but I don’t care; I’m ready to stay I do. He’s a troublemaker, a druggie and an alcoholic but I love him anyway. If I could find a ring that I could afford, that would be even better.

    When I got back to my apartment, I waved to my neighbor. She was on her way to work, apparently. I let my dog out and sat in the shade to contemplate my situation. I’d gathered all the gold items I could find and anything else worth selling, but nothing was enough.

    “Maggie, I feel like I’m never going to find him a ring. Maybe everyone at work was right: I should break up with him and forget it.”

    She barked at me then squatted on the lawn. Well, thanks for your opinion.

    @Aightball
    249 words

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  6. Trade Goods

    It was not, at first glance, apparent the furs contained a being at all but the Cholgachi slaver had not plied his trade for so long by being unobservant. Had not his scanners indicated, certainly, his olfactory organs could not have mistaken the presence of the creature. As he’d nearly filled the holding pens of his ship with other sentients from this lot, he knew this particular specimen was not typical of the purveyor’s wares but, instead, some sort of… aberration perhaps? Such peculiarities could fetch a handsome return in certain markets…markets which the Cholgach was well aware of.

    Nudging with a clawed hind foot, he inquired of the trembling Krenik merchant, “So, how much is this one worth? Lie to me and I shall have your head for lunch. It is a species…unfamiliar to me. I do not, by long custom, deal in unknown commodities but this thing intrigues me. Speak now, worm, and speak not to me falsely.”

    Its tail swishing in an unmistakable sign of agitation, the small furred creature crooned, “This one, Master, is quite unique. It is the only survivor of a hitherto unseen type…it is called a hew-mon, I believe. I, myself, paid…12 credits for it. I could be persuaded to offer it to you at only a modest mark-up of…say…15?”

    The Cholgachi chittered with annoyance, “You will give it to me for 10 and not a credit more. Load it with the others.”

    Daring not to question the hulking insectoid, the Krenik complied.

    250 words @klingorengi

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  7. Worth

    The scaled hand set the deep red gem on the counter. It was a breathtaking specimen, the size of a fist or heart. “How much is this one worth?” the raspy voice hissed from beneath the cowl of the cloak.

    The judge looked up casually eyeing the obscured figure. He lifted the gem and carefully examined it through his loop.

    "I'll give you 10 years."

    The breath hissed angrily in and out somewhere in the shadows of the cloak. The judge looked nonplussed, almost bored as he stared at the figure waiting for the answer.

    "Done," the voice finally hissed.

    The word was barely finished when the judge lunged forward grabbing it's claw. The creature hissed in pain or rapture as life flowed back into it.

    "Begone." the judge said pushing the creature's claw away from him with disdain.

    It turned and left without another word setting off to hunt for its next fix, the next soul.

    Word Count: 157
    @NomDeBen

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  8. “Daddy daddy!” A blur of sandy hair, and my son flew past me, some wooden toy gripped in his short fingers. The toy caught in the Chancellor’s robes, and the man’s arm moved faster than I could have imagined, his hand locking around my son’s wrist, holding it tight. The Chancellor’s dark eyes bore in on my son, and the little boy froze, more surprised than afraid. Finally, his weighty gaze turned to me.

    “How much is this one worth?”

    “I’m sorry, m’lord – he meant nothing by it. He knows not to run in the shop.”

    “Oh, I’m not angry. Boys will be boys.” He smiled, lips turning up in a grin which didn’t touch his eyes. “And I have a need for boys. You will be well compensated, of course.”

    I tried to swallow, and couldn’t. A neighbor had sent his son to live in the castle, years ago now, and then disappeared himself one day. His shop was now boarded up. Most considered it haunted, and would walk circles around it.

    It took every ounce of courage I had just to speak, and I had to tear my gaze away from his. “I’m sorry again, m’lord. He is not for sale.”

    “Ah – so you will resist. I can just take him, you know. But I try so hard to be civilized.”

    “Take him? But the king…he knows this shop, me. He wouldn’t.”

    The Chancellor laughed, deep and dark. “King Joseph? You have no idea what he would do.”

    250 words
    @drmagoo

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  9. “How much is this one worth?” I dumped the ring, and its two or so carats of sparkling brouhaha onto the table. Diamonds caught the light from a dozen different directions and shattered it into prisms against the black tablecloth as easily as my life had shattered forty-eight hours ago.

    The man on the other side of open displays of costume jewelry and locked cases of the real deal leaned back to look me over. The jeweler’s loupe clenched between check and brow dropped into his palm with the ease of years of practice, and soft brown eyes blinked at me.

    With careful fingers, he pinched the ring between thumb and forefinger and repositioned the loupe.

    I’d watched this guy appraise each item brought to him with a patient, genuine eye. Good or bad or junk store piece of shit, he studied before he made a judgment. He crowed over works of art and value, clucked his commiseration with the owners of plated metals, fake stones, and knockoff designs.

    I tried to present a stoic front as I waited for a response, but I cracked.

    “Please tell me the truth.”

    “Oh, it’s real.” He hummed, a pleasant, trilling sound as he turned the ring this way and that. “It doesn’t get more real. The craftsmanship is exquisite.”

    “But?” I could feel a ‘but’ the size of the Texas sky coming.

    “I’ve seen this ring before.” He heaved a sigh. “And it doesn’t belong to you.” He lifted his hand. “Security.”

    @caramichaels
    250 words

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  10. "Are you the one they call the Timekeeper?" Amelia asked timidly. The old man never looked up from his work desk but a wry, almost imperceptible grin crossed his lips.

    "Some call me that."

    "How much will you give me for this ring?" Amelia said softly.

    The shopkeeper examined the ring and placed it back in her hand. "Not enough for what you're asking."

    "How do you know...?"

    The old man stopped her mid-sentence. "What else have you?"

    Amelia removed a gold ring with onyx stones from her finger. "How much is this one worth?" she asked.

    The Timekeeper's interest suddenly seemed to pique. Taking the gold and onyx ring from her hand, he set it in front of him and studied it under his magnifying lens.

    "Are you prepared to make true payment for what you seek?"

    Amelia looked confused. "The ring was my grandmother's..."

    "No, no. Your ring is not the payment I require. Traveling through time does not come cheeply for either of us."

    "I will do anything," Amelia said. "I must be with Nate. He is the man I love."

    "Your lover from a past life, yes. I know all about it. Are you prepared to do anything I ask?"

    "I am." Amelia responded too quickly and the Timekeeper knew he had her.

    Taking a pistol from his desk, the old man offered it. "Kill the king, that's all I ask."

    Amelia gasped.

    "What will it be then?

    Amelia slowly reached for the gun.

    @Ryan_Derham
    250 words

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  11. "Destiny R Us"
    by Dr. Mike Reddy (@doctormikereddy)
    [250 words]


    “It IS a common mistake, Sir. One put about by our… shall we say, our main competitor."

    "So, I don't have to sell my soul to get my dream?"

    "Ha ha ha, extremely witty. If I may say, Sir. Not all of it. No."

    "What's the percentage on these?"

    "The… er… 'Rock and Roll Lifestyle' and the… 'Jet-Setting Adventurer' packages are both a reasonable 15% APR. very popular"

    "APR?"

    "Ascension from Purgatory Reallocation. Sir must allow for a delay in shipping to the 'final' destination, but we can assure you that arrival will occur within a reasonable period

    How much is this one worth?”

    "The 'Leader of the Free World' Deluxe Box. Sir has an excellent eye. That IS one of our special 0% Rapture packages! Same Day Delivery. However, there are a few small additional contractual obligations. Still one of our favourites for our 'special' clients."

    "What are the 'additional' obligations?"

    "Sir IS wise to check… The contract is reasonably clear. Must invade an innocent country on a pretext. Must be a hypocrite, and lie about it on at least one occasion. Must allow innocents to die from inaction. Oh and the NRA, one of our oldest and dearest clients, must be left untouched. We get SO many referrals through them. I'm sure you understand."

    "If these are achieved within a 3 year period, Sir will be allowed to extend the package at no extra charge. I can see Sir IS interested. Can I take your name?"

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  12. TREASURE OR TRASH

    Kitty turned the vase over in her grimy hands again. It was heavy and the same color as the coins the people used in the High Quarter. She was pretty sure it was the same color. Plus it was shiny too. When she grabbed it.

    Crouched down behind Krug’s Pawn Shop, she found a cleaner bit inside her linen shirt to wipe her acquisition. Okay, so it wasn’t shiny anymore. But she knew from sneaking into the bathhouse that it was possible to get dirt off. Fancy people did it all the time.

    The pot had to be gold! Or was it an urn? Either way she made up her mind not to walk away with less than a quarter of its weight in gold coins. Krug had to take his share, but her cut had to be worth at least that!

    Kitty hugged her prize and dashed around the corner into the dim shop that stank of unwashed goods. The half-orc behind the counter grunted, but didn’t look up.

    “Ey, Kitty.”

    The young urchin felt her knees start to buckle. Krug was going to haggle her down. He always haggled her down! Swallowing she got on tip-toes to push her acquisition up onto the counter.

    “How much is this one worth?”

    Krug flicked the jar disdainfully. The dull tonk of his nail on the metal fell forlornly to the shop floor with Kitty’s hopes.

    “A brass chamber pot? Girl, I know you ken do better.”


    246 words
    @DavidALudwig

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  13. Flight

    At the center there are monsters, invisible, beyond the reach of everything, where light becomes dark. Hypocycloidal shapes surround the surface; along the edges, a chase that never ends. The pursuit pays a price, but a price at what cost, and to what possible end? How much is this one worth? Or that one?

    “The hate of men will pass when dictators die and we possess their power.” The power of the masses, flowing into form, a single power-mass far flung into the center where the monsters roam in shadow.

    “Relax. Let it flow. You are the creator.”

    “Is this real? Or just a ride?”

    “Whatever you think it is, you can change it anytime. Don‘t be afraid.”

    I hold my finger to the moon. I fix my gaze until the finger disappears. The ground begins to quake. Vertical potential surpasses downward pull, and I begin to fly.

    148 words
    @ducknado

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  14. “How about giving me some notice next time?” Hunter stormed into his brother’s office.
    Alex’s eyes remained fixed on his laptop. “Notice?”

    “Don’t act stupid. I woke to Jacey’s rants and sobs as she packed her shit. Then out of default, I was her shoulder to cry on. You could’ve warned me it was coming so I could’ve made a quick getaway with you.”

    Alex took a deep breath and looked up from his work. “Look, I’m sorry, man. Did she get the envelope I left on the kitchen counter?”

    “The one stuffed with cash? Yeah, she got it. She said the parting gift was your calling card. Then she called you a prick. Can’t say I don’t agree with her.”

    Alex smiled. “I owe you one.”

    “You owe me more than one, bro. Your track record sucks. How many hearts are you gonna break before you settle down?” Hunter picked up the cocktail napkin with a phone number written in curly handwriting off Alex’s desk. “Is this your next conquest. How much is this one worth?”

    He swiped the napkin from Hunter’s hand. “Don’t judge, Hunt. You’re not much better.”

    “At least I don’t make any promises. Women know exactly where I stand and what I want. They know I’m incapable of anything beyond a physical relationship.”

    “What about Michelle?” Alex raised his eyebrows.

    “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” But he did. Michelle hadn’t been far from his thoughts since he'd kissed her tears away.

    248 words from WIP
    @sandrabunino

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  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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  16. I really like your blog, keep it up!

    ReplyDelete

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