Thursday, September 11, 2014

#ThursThreads - The Challenge That Ties Tales Together - Week 135


Welcome back to the Weird, the Wild, & the Wicked. It's September 11th, a date that hits hard for some folks. Sending blessings to all those still affected. It's also Thursday today, so get your flash ready. Writing a #flashfiction thread! Welcome to Week 135 of #ThursThreads, the challenge that ties tales together. Want to keep up each week? You're welcome to join the FB #ThursThreads group where we'll do events and make announcements. 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 8 PM Mountain 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 135:


Historian, and historical murder mystery author, Cindy Amrhein.

And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.

The Prompt:

“See the signs of our victory.”

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!

34 comments:

  1. I clutch him to me as I hear the voices of people around me—some laughing and some crying.

    Pushing away all the noise, I hide my face in his chest. I feel his fingers nudging my chin to get me to look up.

    A part of me doesn’t want to face the disappointment of looking up and finding that he’s not there, but another part—a much bigger part—wants to gaze upon his handsome face once again.

    I take a deep breath and open my eyes to meet the piercing ones of my husband, my King.

    He brushes away the tears that fall ceaselessly down my cheeks and smiles at me. “You are a queen, Isabella. Crying doesn’t suit you,” he says softly.

    I sniffle. “I just ... I cannot believe that the battle is over, my King.”

    He presses a feather-light kiss on my forehead and whispers, “Love, look around you. See the signs of our victory. Your husband is a successful commander, it seems.”

    A smile finally manages to break through my gloomy mood, and I tilt my face upwards in a silent request for a kiss.

    When he kisses me, I smile against his lips and then sigh. “You really are here.”

    He hugs me to his chest as he looks at the flag flying from our castle—with his mark on it. “There is nowhere I would rather be, my Queen.”

    Love and happiness blossoms in my heart as I kiss him once again.



    Word count: 250

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    Replies
    1. e-mail: afsana_shetu91@yahoo.com

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    2. Very sweet! Is this part of a WIP or a longer story? I'd love to read it!

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    3. Thank you. :D
      Right now, it's just a flash fic, I'm afraid. But I do intend to have a similar scene in my next multi-chapter story. :)

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  2. On the day of the hanging, the sky screamed with clouds overfilled and like a faucet turned on full blast, the rain gushed in torrents. Inspector Grayson White stood in his waistcoat, his blonde hair dripping in the rain. Fulfilling his duty, he watched the scene of the man now on the gallows. The crowd of five hundred or more huddled in the teaming rain; murmuring of the four months pregnant victim, Miriam Shore, dispatched by an overdose of chloroform, the telltale scratches on her mouth and of the whispers that her lover, Doctor Yalom had slain her. They crooned of her lovingly and fondly as they had not in life.
    Grayson observed as the guilty man shivered and begged for mercy, protesting his innocence, as the rope tightened on his neck. People declared themselves judge and jury, when his feet dangled and the rope tightened around his neck and it snapped. Grayson stood watching as the doctor declared him dead.
    Doctor Yalom wiped tears out of his eyes, as they declared the cuckhold, Benjamin Shore dead. He then walked away and back to his office.
    As Grayson looked in the distance to the hill, the victim, now a phantasm in a beam of light, smiled, and then disappeared in a puff of smoke. Then as Grayson looked the clouds parted and a rainbow appeared up above.
    A few in the crowd yelled, “See the signs of our victory.” and then the crowd cheered their approval justice had been done.
    250 words
    @SweetSheil

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  3. ~~~~~

    We prevailed. See the signs of our victory, right there, in the eyes of the innocent children in our midst.

    The outcome could have been way worse, we could have failed miserably, much like every, single generation before us, but we didn’t.

    Somehow, we managed to get our shit together and fix this.

    Survival.

    The foreign and backwards-striving units were resoundingly defeated, truly crushed. We managed to destroy the very heart of their operation, the one thing that kept them going.

    A thousand years from now, they will still talk about us, the Vikings of 970.

    And some will smile.

    ~~~~~

    Word count: 100 on the nose
    Twitter handle: @AnnaLund2011

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    1. Vikings! You awesome woman, you. :)

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    2. Yep, smiling now. Vikings...awesome!

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  4. The warlord raised a fist to the sky, screaming what sounded like gibberish to him. Banjo voiced the same thoughts with a whispered, “What the hell is he saying?”

    Duke spoke a couple of dialects but this wasn’t one of them. The man continued his tirade and Duke’s team shifted inches at a time until they were in position to make a run for freedom.

    “No one can stop us.” The feminine voice at his side translated. He’d almost forgotten about the doctor. Almost. They’d been sent to retrieve her but their intel sucked. They’d had to liberate her from the warlord’s encampment.

    Flames from the bonfire in the center of the camp leaped, casting macabre shadows against tents and huts. Tribal drums beat softly, the rhythm as old as time. Men raised their weapons to a midnight sky, the stars looking like bullet holes as the pirates fired their guns.

    “We will slay all who oppose us. We will own the night. The day. The world.”

    “Asshole’s damn sure of himself.” Banjo again, his voice whispering through the earpiece. Duke was impressed the others heard the doc through his mic.

    “See the signs of our victory!” The warlord pointed to the sky where what looked like a meteor streaked. The crowd fell silent, awed by the sight.

    “The gods are with us!”

    No they weren’t, Duke realized, too late to warn his team. He had a moment to tuck the doctor beneath him before hell erupted, and darkness descended.
    ****
    250 words
    @SilverJames_

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    Replies
    1. This little story kept me guessing to the end. Well done!

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  5. The Kormoranthe twisted Annie’s arm tighter, his clawed fingers digging tender flesh. Standing next to the alien, her legs shook as she surveyed the carnage. Charcoal-gray billows rose from burning buildings. The acrid smoke stung her eyes, and ash settled on her, on everything.
    She tried wrenching her arm free, but his claws dug to the bone. “Why do you keep me, you son-of-a-bitch!”
    He smiled, displaying a full set of yellowed incisors. “Isn’t it your own kind who say, ‘To the victors go the spoils of war’?”
    Nausea racked her as she doubled over and heaved, but five days of starving on the front lines had left nothing inside of her.”
    A filthy wind gust brought the scent of burning flesh to her. Bloodied and broken bodies lay scattered, each once alive with hopes and dreams. Each, a brother, a sister, a mom, a dad, someone’s son, somebody’s daughter…
    Her children, gone. Hatred built into rage. “Why? Why!”
    “Why?” he mocked. “Because we needed your world. And your pathetic race was incapable of defending itself.” Waving his arm around in a sweeping gesture, he purred, “See the signs of our victory. It’s ours now. And I am the King.”
    Bitterness gripped her. She growled, “King of what?”
    His blue lips formed a smirk. “Of all you see.”
    She looked at where once everything that had meant something to her had been. Tears left black streaks on her dirty cheeks. “Where’s your crown, oh mighty King of nothing?”

    248 words
    @Teresa_Cypher

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    Replies
    1. This has the making of a much longer adventure story! Any chance you've written more?

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  6. The image of the Gyere queen floated above her as Sorin sat on the cold floor of her cell.

    "Do you see the signs of our victory?" the phantom-like ruler said in her strange accent.

    Images of devastation appeared as holographs behind the queen's own image. Sorin turned away, unable to look.

    "It's a lie," Ejan said. "If they'd defeated us, they would have no need to keep us alive."

    The queen let out a piercing laugh as her image vanished.

    "Get us out of here, Sorin. You must use your magic."

    "I am trying, Ejan."

    Sorin's heart wept. Frustration and despair took over.

    "You are more powerful than you know, Sorin. You need to find the key to your magic."

    "What do you mean? Tell me what you know, Ejan."

    "It lies within you, Sorin."

    "I don't know how."

    "You do. You're mageborn. You have magic within you."

    "I can't reach it."

    "Call to your magic, Sorin. I can't tell you how, but I know you can reach it."

    Sorin reached deep into whatever corner of her being her magic resided. A pure, beautiful light. A spark becoming a flame.

    In that instant she was outside the mountain prison. Her joy, however, lasted only a moment as she remembered Ejan had to be left behind.

    "I will come back for you," she promised him, her magic sending her words to his mind.

    Cate Derham
    @cate_derham
    250 Words

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    1. Great ending. Now I'm going to wondering all day how she manages to get him out! :)

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    2. Thank you, Veronica!!! Much, much appreciated!!!

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  7. "In these trying days we must remember that no one will stop us from fulfilling our destiny!"

    The great desert stretched from horizon to horizon. Sand flowed over broken trees and filled empty stream beds. An old fencepost stood marking the remains of a field long forgotten. Nothing stirred except the dunes as the relentless wind pressed them ever onward.

    "We will not tolerate unbelievers. We will not allow sinners to dirty our cities. We are the chosen people. We are the chosen ones."

    The hot sun beat down on a dark pond, reflecting spots of light on the rock surface around it. A lizard staggered toward the water and collapsed on its side near the water’s edge. Blue markings on its skin rose and fell with the lizard's slow breath. The animal drank once from the rancid water then twitched and breathed no more.

    "This land was given to us, and to us alone, by the creator!"

    The crumbling city stood in defiance to the passage of time. Broken spires leaned to one side or another as if jabbed into the earth by a child. Concrete and asphalt lie in broken ruins. Abandoned vehicles rusted on their, the rubber of the tires long burned off.

    "We will rise up to strike down all that dare to oppose us and history will see the signs of our victory!"

    Throughout the ruins bleached human skulls stared with empty eyes at the once proud city surrounding them.

    @joshbgosh
    245 words

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    1. Really vivid. I can absolutely see this.

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    2. This reads like the opening scene of a fantastic sci-fi epic film! Great imagery!

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  8. Bethany slid her gaze over the tribunal. Each wore a variation of disbelief or disapproval. She resisted the urge to stick her tongue out at them. Pompous bastards.

    "While going over the issues, I encountered a satyr."

    Mack grunted. "So that's what it was."

    "As I'm sure you're all aware, satyrs are manipulative and beguiling." Murmurs of assent rippled through the elders. "I would've succumbed to its charms had Major McMacken not arrived."

    "You mean, been summoned." Stal Corbin scowled.

    "No, arrived. It was my understanding from this body of authority that the rift to my world was closed." Bethany raised her chin. "I had no expectation of returning to my world, nor that anyone would arrive from it. As far as my understanding went, I would remain in the village for the unforeseen future."

    She swung her gaze to the others. "Major McMacken informed me he intended to return me to my home world and I insisted there was no way to get back. He then attempted to force me back to the sacred grove, and I resisted because he didn't see the signs."

    "Of our victory?" Stal Corbin smirked.

    "No, of the strict adherence to the dryads' rules. That's when I called for General Warrick and the others."

    "Are you saying this human came without your special instructions and meant to return you to your home through the rift without your permission?"

    "That's exactly what I'm saying."

    239 ineligible #WIP500 words
    @SiobhanMuir

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    Replies
    1. Great tension! And great dialogue. Made me think of the poor souls who get dragged before congress!

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  9. God cop cars smell. Sweat, blood, drugs, vomit; I wonder if they ever bother cleaning the damn things.

    "You better not have ratted us out, kid."

    I look toward Lt. Michealson. "You wish."

    The car jerks to a stop at a red light. Three blocks to go. He turns around, his red face set in a deep frown.

    "You help me put these guys away, you stay out of the federal pen. You rat us out and you go to jail for so many years you'll be dead when you come out."

    I glance down at my phone. We're ready.

    The unmarked car stops outside a house on X street. I open the door but Michealson shakes his head.

    "You stay here, kid. I don't trust you."

    Fuck. As soon as Michealson's back is turned, I text Aaron for help.

    See the signs of our victory

    I wrinkle my brow, glancing toward the house. Not only has a S.W.A.T. team arrived, but my side is ready, guns pointing out windows. Michealson turns, his face redder than ever.

    I wrench the door open and run. Someone heavy lands on me, breath hot on my neck. Cold cuffs snick into place and Michealson yanks me to my feet. He drags me to a cruiser and throws me inside, slamming the door. Satisfaction spreads on his face as he gives S.W.A.T. the go signal. Somehow, I don't think my side is going to be victorious tonight.

    @Aightball
    243 words

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    1. This is one of those interesting cases where I really shouldn't be rooting for the MC, but I totally am. I hope he gets out it!

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  10. The smell of gunpowder stung her nose. Hands shaking, Tala dropped the gun. The dark metal struck the dry ground, kicking up a pile of dust. With the back of her hand, she wiped the annoying wetness from her face, streaking grit over her cheek.

    Blood splattered the dirt, trailing off into the green of the forest. She cringed, feeling weak, and sought out the comfort of Jace’s gaze. His wide eyes reflected her horror.

    The yelp of the wolf looped in her head. Agony. Fear. She didn’t want to shoot, but once the creature leapt, it became him or her. She didn’t want to die, today.

    Her knees caved, her vision blurred and she collapsed. Strong arms gripped her waist as Jace steadied her against his sturdy body.

    “Easy there,” he soothed. “I’ve got you.”

    She twisted her body to face him, and he brushed smear marks off her face with his thumb.

    “I-I-I didn’t mean …” the words stuck in her throat.

    “Shhh. I know. You didn’t kill him. He’ll be hurt, but he’ll live.”

    “Are you sure?”

    “Pretty much.” He picked up the gun, checked the safety and snapped it into the holster. “Where did you learn to shoot like that?”

    “My brother.”

    With a swipe of his foot, Jace obliterated the remnants of the encounter. “See the signs of our victory,” he said, “gone.”

    She shook her head, thinking about the old cliché that violence never solved violence. “Feels like we’ve lost more than we gained.”

    250 words
    @LouisaBacio

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    1. Is this part of a larger WIP? The last line really struck me. Great job!

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  11. Isea, I see the cattle,” Eithne said with a nod, dropping her spindle and playing out the gathered wool. The motion soothed her, making it necessary. The aftermath of a battle in Dál Fiatach was unsettling. “They’re everywhere, Cían.”

    Cían breathed in his pride, blue eyes gleaming under blond brows as he brought forth a finely wrought blade. “King Blathmac himself gave me this.” The last rays of the evening sun touched the blade’s edge, but Cían finally discerned Eithne wasn’t altogether happy. He caught her chin on one bloodstained finger and gazed into the sea gray of her eyes. “What is it, dove?”

    All at once, Eithne had had it with acting the dutiful wife. Her eyes burned from the force of her emotion as she caught up her spindle with ease and shoved it into the pouch she wore at her waist. “What is it he asks me? Cían . . . “ She made an inarticulate sound and caught his wrists her in hands. Blood stained each line of his knuckles, each callus of his palm. “D’you see this? And for what, the cattle?”

    “Wife! You knew this would happen. Eoin wasn’t going to rest—“

    Desperation had her pulling his hands to her belly, where a child grew yet unseen. Still, she knew. “But what about us, Cían?” When his eyes widened in surprise she slid his hands up so that they came between their two faces. “See the signs of our victory, your victory. Is it worth it?”
    ===
    Word count: 248
    Sandi Layne
    @sandyquill

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    1. Get use of the prompt! What I wouldn't give to hear his answer!

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  12. Endemic wastelands stretched across a vast sea of desolation, filling the mind’s eye with a scene of apocalyptic proportions. Nothing lay here now save dissolute souls of the defeated, and the dust of a thousand civilizations.
    Across a barren world, the landscape remained the same. Oceans were dry, mountains toppled, lakes arid; nothing lived.
    Behold a brown dot in the night sky to mark the grave of a once-vibrant world in a dying universe.
    Two stood amidst the rubble. Red eyes peered across the handiwork of those who’d come before. To them this bare, inhospitable landscape was a lecture, a mere lesson on a blackboard.
    Metallic voices debated the merits of the day’s session.
    “It seems such a waste.”
    “Perhaps.” said another, reverberating deeper into the dusk of evening. “If there were no more worlds. Yet, this is not the case.”
    “Still, there could have been much potential here, if it were only seen and recognized.”
    A long pause emphasized the impudence of that bold statement.
    “When this world was pristine, I saw it with my own eyes. I saw the arrogant creatures who pretended to rule. And I say to you now, there was no potential here.”
    And yet the student continued to protest.
    “And yet, I see no signs of our own progress in this forsaken wasteland.”
    “No, you do not.” answered the instructor. “See the signs of our victory.”
    And with those words, the day’s lesson was concluded.

    241 Words
    @EvenSultry

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    Replies
    1. Great intro! And the use of the prompt was brilliant. I guess that was one hard lesson to learn. Nice job!

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  13. I never imagined that fresh air could be more precious than gold. After several weeks locked in a hull pregnant with dying men, breathable air was a treasure. It was worth the mind-shredding pain that exploded from the wound in my thigh.

    I was especially pleased to be amongst the last to come on deck, the glaring sun already hidden below the horizon and the moon visible in a soft, violet sky.

    Sergeant Henry Adams, a fellow captive, had become my crutch. A tall, stout man, he carried my weight as if I were a child. We marched in our designated group for eight passes from bow to stern.

    “How’s the leg?” he whispered.

    “Same as yesterday. No better, no worse.”

    “Think you can still swim?”

    I gave him a quizzical look, but swallowed my question as the guard called for our return below. I shook my head instead, not wanting to invite the beating that came for breaking the silence.

    By the time he helped me to my makeshift bunk, the full blackness of night had set upon us.

    “Get ready,” he said, his thick arm still supporting me. In an instant the dry, splintered wall of the ship grew bright with fire. Several others punched through the weakened hull, permitting the dark, cold bay water to invade our space.

    “Let them see the signs of our victory in this blaze. Let the see that we will not be broken.”

    “Now, think you can swim?”

    Dumbfounded I nodded.

    @RevolutionaryVJ
    249 words

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

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  15. Wow. Great writing here. This will be tough!

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