Thursday, December 22, 2011

#ThursThreads - The Challenge that Ties Tales Together - Week Two

Welcome to Week Two of #ThursThreads!

It's Thursday, so what should you be doing? Writing #FlashFiction, that's what! And I've got the challenge for you.

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 + 

Our Judge for Week Two:

The musically inclined, Texas expatriate Wakefield Mahon.

And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.

The Prompt:

"Then the damned will envy my conversion."

Away with you, Flash Fiction Fanatics, and show us your #ThursThread. Good luck! :)


  1. Not eligible, but being judge inspired this story from the prompt:

    I was the accuser, the breaker of wills. When I saw the creatures he created, I hated them at once. How could I ever bow before such a fragile mortal? I set out to prove that the men were unworthy. I thought I might prove myself, even exalt myself above the throne but he brought me low and cast down to this miserable rock. After 4000 years, I realized the error of my ways. I went to the king begging forgiveness. He said I could return but only if I humbled myself completely before his creation. And so I was born in a stable among the livestock into the household of a carpenter and his wife. I was given all the power of the king and tried to lead men to him. In the end they mocked me, beat me and nailed me up on a tree. For three days I lay in the pit, afraid that I had failed and would never see the throne room again, but the King took me by my hand and drew me out.
    “Now I will call you Son,” He said.
    So now I who was your accuser, became your advocate and now stand as your judge.
    Those who still trust only in themselves, lifting themselves above the throne, will be cast in to the pit. Then the damned will envy my conversion.
    230 words.

    [P.S. This is not a statement of my beliefs, but as a small child I did always think it was sad that the devil had no chance at redemption.]

  2. Wakefield, that is inspired! Thank you for writing and sharing. I'm all about redemption. Well done! :)

  3. Flames licked out from his empty eye sockets, his skull ablaze, his worn leather jacket scarred. He tightened one last shovelhead bolt, his bony hand gripping the wrench as tight as he could, then stood back and inspected his work.

    “Nice bike, Asgul. I see you’ve made some more modifications.”

    He turned to the dwarf demon, Relal, and attempted a fleshless smile.

    “Yes, I’ve been working on this for millennia, it seems. It’s my ticket out of Hell.”

    Relal gazed at him, curious and concerned. “Out of Hell? Are you serious, Asgul? You plan on riding a motorcycle out of Hell?”

    Asgul turned quickly, checking to see if any of Asmodeus’s sentries and minions were within earshot.

    “Oh yes. I’m out of here. This machine will get me through all nine planes of Baator. I’ve added nitrous, twin chamber forks, provalve damping controls, and the dual wheel kit in the back to handle the treacherous terrain.”

    “Wow, Asgul. You’ve certainly put a lot of time and effort into this. What happens, though, if you can’t make it out?”

    Asgul studied his little demon friend thoughtfully. He certainly knew it was a longshot. Shrugging, he said, “Well, Relal, I’m at least hoping to make it to Purgatory. If I don’t, though, I suppose I’ll still be stuck here, but at the very least then the damned will envy my conversion.”

    229 words

  4. What looked to be a simple warehouse from the street opened into a warren of underground levels. He navigated the halls with ease, leading me into a projection booth.

    “You know this place well.”

    “Just look,” he ordered.

    In the theater below, men, women, and children sat motionless in their seats, absorbed in the show. I lifted my gaze to the screen, finding some kind of propaganda-style presentation.

    “What is this? Some kind of brainwashing?”

    “Think Stepford. On a much grander scale.”

    “Stepford?” I laughed. “They’re robots?”

    “Clones,” he said.

    “Clones? To—replace people?”

    I studied the movie, but saw nothing more insidious than a grade school-style educational film with some political and social rhetoric tossed in. It didn’t seem like anything to inspire such rapt attention. I felt my mouth curve into a slight smile.

    “Accept you savior,” the cheerily bombastic narrator urged. “Accept Gemini and begin anew. Free of your past. Free of your sins and regrets.”

    “Then the damned will envy my conversion.”

    The words slipped unbidden from my lips. Rough hands spun me around, away from the movie. Away from my savior. I craned my head, trying to keep it in view.

    “Stay with me.”

    The world shook, then rocked sharply to the right. Pain snuck beneath the cottony haze, a fireball exploding on my left cheek.

    “What—what just happened? What did I say?”

    He pulled me hard against him, holding me tight.

    “Don’t look. Don’t let them suck you in. They won’t let go.”

    250 words

  5. The muscles in my arms ached – back and forth, back and forth, smoothing and stretching the dough. I pounded out my frustration until Scott walked in, cradling the ripest tomatoes I’d ever seen in a hammock made of his shirt.

    “How many did you get?” I asked, careful to keep my voice neutral. We’d cultivated a careful truce.

    He wrinkled his nose, mouth coiling into a grimace. “I don’t know. At least a dozen.”

    “How many tomatoes are in a pound? I need to make sauce for the pizza.”

    “I don’t know.” There it was: resentment.

    “Well, figure it out for me.

    “But I don’t know. How many pounds do you need?”

    I slammed my fist on the counter, a cloud of flour spiraling into the tense air of the kitchen. “A pound. Just convert the numbers for damn tomatoes, okay? I need a pound.”

    His face smoothed, although his cheeks bloomed pink. “Why are you such a bitch? I feel like I’m in hell – you’ve damned me.”

    Something broke in me, spearing the membrane of my heart until it tattered. I lunged at Scott with the pastry cutter, burying it in his neck. While he gurgled and struggled, I yelled out, triumphant, “Then the damned will envy my conversion!”

    210 words

  6. My entry is ineligible, but it's from my WIP The Bone Flute and I'll take any excuse to write on it. ;)

    “But you’re a ghost! You can’t touch me. You’re damned!”

    “That may be, but I’m working toward my redemption by stopping you. Rain isn’t meant for you. You must release her,” Jozsef growled as he advanced.

    Heath’s face twisted into hatred. “There’s no redemption for those so cursed.”

    “Then the damned will envy my conversion from their ranks.”

    “She’s mine, ghost, and you can’t have her. She’s been mine longer than she’s known you.” Heath reached down and hefted a heavy plumbing wrench.

    Jozsef smiled, shaking his head with derision. “What will you do with that, mortal?” He sifted himself just behind Heath, sliding an arm around the man’s throat. “Can you truly hope to wound me? As you say, I’m already cursed to be a ghost.” Then Jozsef solidified, tightening his arm.

    Heath jumped and struggled, dropping the wrench with a heavy clang. His fingers dug into Jozsef’s arm and Jozsef felt pain for the first time in centuries, but he slowly squeezed, cutting off Heath’s wind.

    “Tell me where she is or I’ll help you join the host of the cursed,” Joszef snarled into Heath’s ear.

    When the suffocating man said nothing, Jozsef added, “Do you know what demons do to the newly damned, Heath? I hope you’ve made peace with your God, because they take you to a place so dark and painful, you’ll wish for hell.”

    “I’m already there,” Heath choked out, slowly weakening.

    “Not yet, but I can arrange that.” And Jozsef snapped his neck.

    250 words

  7. He stood near the opening of the alley; dirty, smelly, unshaven. Just within the shadows behind him I could see the whole of his worldly possession piled into a rusting shopping cart. A man in a sharp suit knelt in front of him.

    “If you truly believe, you will be saved,” said the street preacher, his eyes and hands lifted toward the sky.

    “Then the Damned will envy my conversion,” the suit replied.

    “Not much to envy from the looks of it,” I mumbled as I passed.

    The homeless man leaped toward me and grabbed my shoulder. I spun, only barely resisting the instinct to put a fist to his jaw, as he leaned in. I could smell the cheap whiskey on his breath.

    “You, too, can be saved,” he said.

    “Tell ya what,” I said, as I pushed him out of my personal space, not roughly but firmly, “you go ahead and impress the Damned.” I pulled a wad of bills from my pocket, flashed it at a leggy hooker who was standing nearby and swept my arm around her waist when she came over. “I think I’ll stick to letting the Converted envy my damnation.”

    I flipped a twenty on the pavement as I walked away with my date for the night.

    “For the mission,” I said, “Who knows? I might need you to put in a good word for me when it’s all said and done.”

    239 Words

  8. Dakmr plunged his sword through the stone of the rooftop with a sickening crack. Coughing up a spray of blood he supported nearly his full weight with the blade and willed himself not to black out. He used the choking smoke from the burning city to bring himself back from the edge. The stench of burnt flesh had increased since the last time he paid attention to it.

    Next he adjusted his grip on the Redblade Katana. Feeling its strength he prepared to draw it from the roof and strike. Two senses to go and Dakmr would be back in the fight.

    There it was; that booming arrogant laugh, “I am soon become God! Then the damned will envy my conversion.”

    “Well, you’ll have plenty of time to discuss it with them,” Finally Dakmr’s eyes locked on Astrolous’ dark hulking figure, “After I send you to hell!”

    147 words

  9. In the hierarchy of the undead, I ranked below them all. I fed from the bottom rung of humanity, existing only by the grace and good humor of my more powerful brethren. It had been so for centuries, but it had not always been so.

    My sin was pity. My brothers had set before us a feast of souls, all delectably rich and succulent. When my turn came and before me stood an innocent – a child – I could not. I would not. And so, cast down from my seat on high, I walked among the bedraggled masses. I was made to blend in, to pretend to be less than what I was. Meals were thrown to me from scraps left over from my stronger brothers, and only then when they remembered I existed. And I wasted away waiting for my redemption.

    My sin—my weakness—haunted me, as did the child’s eyes as they took her away. I began conserving my energy, gathering strength so that I might one day be worthy to challenge the brothers who cast me out.

    Then the damned would envy my conversion. Bottom-feeder no more, I would rule them all with inequity. They would feel the centuries of betrayal they had heaped upon me when I took my rightful place. Vengeance would be mine finally.
    I would beat down the sin of pity within me. And her eyes would haunt me no more.

    238 words

  10. "You're really going through with this?” My coffee was cold; I stirred it anyway, sending up a desultory swirl of grounds. They echoed the motion of the scant flakes wafting through the neon glow outside the diner’s window.

    "I am." He tried on an intimidating glare. I felt like I was being menaced by a squirrel with preternatural language skills, but tried not to let it show.

    “Then the damned will envy my conversion. Not to mention my free magazine subscription and the bitchin’ spinners that are part of the deal, right?”

    He unloaded a world-weary sigh that showed a lot of effort and practice. “When will you take me seriously? I’ve got a gift, here, and you’re still treating me like you’re my babysitter.”

    “It’s sweet that you want to express this unrequited crush from your boyhood through the complex and no doubt incredibly naked ritual, but I’m not buying what you’re selling.”

    “Oh. You want proof.” His tone shifted, from affectation to something bordering on malice and contempt. “Let’s go outside.”

    He pulled me up and out of the booth, leaving my spoon twirling in the mug. He’d tucked a five under it as he did so without disrupting the spin.

    I started to think he might not be *entirely* full of shit, and grinned.

    217 words

  11. Bloody lips grinned as Falial pulled himself up on the rock. His hand slipped once , bloody dripping onto the rocks and making his grip slippery. He got his feet underneath and straightened up, not wincing as the long cut in his thigh stretched the beginning of a scab tore loose, fresh blood running down his leg.

    Leathery wings stretched behind them, the end section of the right one tilting at an odd angle.

    They didn’t think he would get out. They didn’t think that he would survive. His body was bruised, mangled and torn. But he made it.

    The screams funneled up and he looked down at the writing bodies, hands reaching up for assistance.

    They were all fools. “Then the damned will envy my conversion.” Matted blonde hair fell down his back as he laughed, head tilted back, the sound echoing up to the bright blue sky.

    149 words


  12. It wasn’t a choice to become this 'thing' that your words inflect with much despising; I was taken young and forced to become what you see here in front of you today.

    The scalloped appendages, the telescopic gadgets, the whole of this mechanical self, that make up what once was human, on some level sympathizes with your point of view.

    Damn me if you must to the depths of the etching tank, but I say to you that in the world's state, then the damned will envy my conversion.

    The defense presents to you the tale of a boy taken from a mother's breast and brutalized through surgery and training. It is indeed true that a mother wept years ago for the loss of a child, but that mother's arms have laid stiff for many years; her remains little more than dust among the worms. The prosecution speaks of a psychopath killing for an agenda as of yet undetermined.

    I will speak the truth though it will fall on deaf ears. I have done what was demanded from programming placed into a memory core. Malice, greed, hate...these are words that cannot be connoted to such things as a tool. I have functioned for millennia. No matter the outcome here today, I will live eternally; my memory stored off-planet and safe among its creators. Indeed, your creators.

    I am what was intended and am the storied angel of death. Fear me or not, retribution will come by this incarnation or another.

    250 words

  13. Entered for @klingorengi

    Hunting For The Holiday Spirit

    Samuel Wheldon Braithwaite savored as well as loathed this holiday time of year. Savored, for he was permitted by his station to host lavish parties, dispense unique gifts and to, in general, share his largesse with those of his social circle. Loathed, because each year he had the onerous task of discovering new and inventive ways to amuse and delight his peers.

    Given the excesses of any given day, pleasing such jaded palates proved an ever more difficult task. He believed he had seized upon perfection this year though.

    There would be a Great Hunt at his country estate. Their quarry was to be some dozen of the pitiful street trash he'd set loose in the wooded lands. It would be smacking good fun!

    Chalmers, his most loyal retainer, had earned himself a spot amongst the hunted by presuming to question the morality of Samuel's idea.

    "Conjecture is moot, you fool! Perhaps I shall be canonized for this deed. The blessed may sing my praises from the celestial heights. Perhaps this shall be the ultimate affront that consigns my soul to the most fiery pits of Hell. If so, then the damned shall envy my conversion and welcome me to the infernal host. All metaphysical conjecture aside, the only surety is that, by tomorrow's end, you shall reside amongst the peons of one eternal kingdom or the other. I, however, shall remain free to do as I wish to such as you for many, many years to come."

    Samuel laughed at Chalmers' horrified look and strolled away...finally embracing the holiday spirit.

    250 words

  14. “Do you have a name?” I asked the Angel hovering before me only inches above the floor.
    Clasping her hands together with her fingers laced, she answered. “I do have a common name that I abandoned long ago, but my proper names include: The Angel of Mercy, The Angel of Death and The Grimm Reaper, but the most common among the collection, Death. I would think that you of all people should know what to call me.”
    “It would appear so. I worked hard preparing the device of my demise, and now you want to return me. May I ask, why?”
    As Death quietly deliberated, her feet touched the floor ever so gently. I felt a cool shadow move past me, leaving only a hint of its existence behind. She had visited me before.
    Her fierce green eyes locked onto mine when she sensed my insight. “I have a job for you, so I am releasing you from Perdition.”
    “Then the damned will envy my conversion. But - I cannot go back looking like this.”
    She nodded in agreement. My arms began to itch so bad I wanted to scrape the skin off, as the deep cuts along my forearms began to disappear. The damage to my muscles and tendons, vein and arteries, adipose and epidermis all began to reconnect. As the blood began to flow, my hands lost their baby blue hue and became warm with a tingling so intense I wanted to cut myself again to make it stop.
    250 words

  15. Sorry, I don't have a profile on any of those sites.
    Greg Nance

  16. In the beginning, I tried to deny what was happening to me. At first, the feelings the darkness pushed into me did not feel natural, but over time by I accepted them. Ever so slowly, the darkness ensnared me. It showed me my direction; it gave me strength. Still I fought against it, wanting to be the same as before. The first time I walked through the flames I would never have thought, “then the damned will envy my conversion,” but now that the changes are complete, I would not think twice about watching them desiring in their dark hearts to be me, the chosen one. How my world changed—I cannot say for the worse that would make me a hypocrite. I cannot say I would have chosen this path without the darkness’s sweet caress but I am not sorry for what has become of me. What I have been trained to do is not for the faint of heart—it gives me sweet satisfaction to see the eyes flood with panic at my approach. When I am free from these catacombs, the eyes will know fear again.

    189 Words

  17. About Face

    My fur was gone and I felt cold – cold and different. What I felt was difficult to describe. For one thing, I was naked and I knew that I was naked, but was not ashamed. Yesterday, I had been running through these woods thinking of nothing more than my next meal. Now, I was aware of more than just a passing rabbit – I also noticed the beauty of my surroundings and wondered how it all had gotten there.

    Had one of THEM bitten me? I could not remember, but I had heard the folktales about it. Those kinds of stories are usually not true or, at least, are greatly exaggerated beyond any underlying facts.

    A few days passed and my fur was not growing back, my consciousness was staying the same and I was still walking upright. Whatever had happened, I was no longer a wolf. I was human.

    After a week, I realised that this was not a once-a-month thing as the legends had said – it was permanent. I was free of my quadruped bonds; free to join civilised society; free to speak with more than just a howl.

    As I began to walk toward the city, thinking of the pack that had not seen me since that night of the new moon, I gloated – uttering my first human words: "Then the damned will envy my conversion."

    230 words

  18. #ThursThreads is officially CLOSED. Thank you to all who wrote today. :)


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