Thursday, March 15, 2012

#ThursThreads - The Challenge that Ties Tales Together - Week 14

Welcome back to the Weird, the Wild, & the Wicked. Did you see Tory Michaels' interview yesterday? No? Well check it out and comment to have the chance to win her new release. ;) But now it's Thursday, so what should you be doing? Writing #FlashFiction, that's what! Welcome to lucky Week 14 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 14:

The spicy, hurricane-attracting, D&D playing, paranormal romance author, Tory Michaels.

And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.

The Prompt:

"The air from the thing’s maw is hot and sour."

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


  1. The mouse stares me down, the light in its eyes as evil a thing as I can ever remember seeing. The air from the thing’s maw is hot and sour. The mystery of who ate my leftover Chinese food is solved at least. But this is no time for thinking—now is the time for action.

    I feint right, but the mouse stays put. Its serpentine tail twitches, then rattles. Maybe it’s not a mouse; maybe it’s a half-mouse, half-snake. A mouke. A snouse. Some abomination of toxic cleaning chemicals and pesticide-laden cheese.

    “Here snouse-y, snouse-y, snouse-y,” I call. My voice sounds stupid even to me.

    My finger crooks. Oh yes, I will mesmerize it with the power of my mind . . . and the stupefying motion of my hand. I think of the bag of flour in the cabinet with the corner gnawed. The little brown turds on the counter.

    The battle has been declared. Only one will win.

    I hope it’ll be me.

    The mouse does this thing with its paw, like it’s winding up. I’ve seen that move before: on a bull about to charge. I have never been eyeballed by a rodent until now.

    I scramble backwards, but it’s too late. The thing’s little ears twitched while it sprints toward me. My head hits the side of the refrigerator. Just as it springs, Smithers pounces over me and lands on the mouse. It squeaks and struggles, then gives up.

    Saved by a cat.

    248 words

  2. “This is one stupid excuse for a holiday.” Brett stated
    “It’s not a stupid holiday; St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland.” I answered.
    “Do you believe that nonsense?”
    “No but I enjoy the beer.”
    “Why aren’t we drinking beer?” Brett whined
    “Him, though the air from the thing’s maw is hot and sour."
    “Well how would your maw be if you drank beer and passed out?”
    “Do you think he has the money?” Brett queried.
    “Yes. “
    Wake up.” I demanded
    “'ill ye bea 'avin sumndin as if oi didn't nu,you lads are al' de seem. Alwus after me gauld.”
    “What did he say?” Brett asked
    “Gud grief not even Irish but colonials?”
    “He’s insulting us.Where the gold leprechaun?” I demanded.
    “Me gold's me own an' not yers ter take.”
    “You have to give us your gold we hold you.” I answered bravely.
    “Okay then follow me.” answered the leprechaun.
    He led us on a merry chase over hill and dale until we reached a cave and bade us enter in.
    “It’s under the rock at the back.” The leprechaun explained standing at the entrance.
    As we searched rocks fell across the entrance in front of where the leprechaun stood.
    ”Keep looking it’s magical.” the leprechaun answered.
    We continued shifting rocks to find a battered box.
    “It’s in the box.” The leprechaun announced.
    We opened the box with fevered excitement.
    “Frosty lucky charms they’re magically delicious.” the leprechaun laughed reciting the jingle and disappearing.
    248 words

  3. The radio gave me nothing but soft static. No team, no Mack. I moved through the woods, patiently hailing every fifty feet or so.

    “Tillman. Franco. Come back. Over.”

    Using the setting sun, I tracked my way back to the senator’s ranch. One mile passed, then two, and I knew something even odder than my team vanishing had happened. We’d walked maybe half a mile into the woods, but these trees stretched on as far as I could see.

    My passage disturbed the natural rhythms of the forest. Only the bravest scurried and called. A small clearing opened to my right and I stepped cautiously to the center. Above me, the night sky danced with stars and a shimmering borealis.

    “Northern Lights in Kentucky?”

    I drew my flare gun and pointed skyward. The shot shattered the stillness. The world around me woke in a fury of cries and movement. All over the clearing, eyes opened and blinked owlishly, their irises reflecting the red light.

    Something brushed my hand and I shrieked, jumping away. A tiny man sniffed at the barrel of the flare gun I pointed in his face.

    “What is this?” he asked. “The air from the thing’s maw is hot and sour.”

    “What—what are you?”

    “I’m a gnome, of course.” He frowned and cocked his head. “Have we met? There’s somethin’ powerful familiar about you, gel.”

    “No,” I managed. “I’d remember.”

    “You sure about that?”

    At least a dozen gnomes studied me curiously now.

    “No. Not really.”

    250 #WIP500 words

  4. The Hounds of Hell
    By Lisa McCourt Hollar

    Demons surrounded me, their fingers clutching, nails digging into my flesh, in their attempt to devour me. I fight, but there are too many. One creature leans towards me, his mouth opened, saliva dripping from his teeth, which were razor sharp. The air from the thing’s maw is hot and sour and I know I am about to be dinner. I close my eyes, waiting for the end to come. Instead, the creature jumps onto my chest, raking its tongue across my face.

    “What the hell!” Opening my eyes, I find that I am in my room. Sitting on top of me, drool dangling from his jowls, like long strings of snot, is Lord Rutherford, my St. Bernard, or more accurately, Sally’s St. Bernard. I only inherited him when she decided she needed to find herself and left the two of us to do so.

    Shoving the dog off my chest, I use the sleeve of my pajamas to wipe the beasts drool from my face. “How many times do I have to tell you,” I growl, “I can wash myself!”

    Lord Ruthie just looks at me, not impressed. Silently he turns and walks into the kitchen and sits by his bowl. The message is clear, if you don’t want me to eat you, then feed me.

    “You know, I can always trade you in for a cat.”

    Still not impressed, Ruthie yawns, sending more bad breath my way.

    “They have better hygiene, you know.”


    “Well, okay, but I’m getting you a toothbrush.”

    Word Count: 249

  5. The Sight

    "I’m telling you Flannigan, The air from the thing’s maw is hot and sour." O'Malley threw back another pint of ale just to ease the trembling in his hands.

    "Now would that be the creature in the woods beyond Summerdale or that wench you picked up at the tavern last night?" The old blind man had an uncanny knack for looking right at O'Malley when he was making a point.

    O'Malley silently moved to the left and threw a dart at the wall. "You know you're not nearly as clever as you think you are."

    Flannigan tracked him as soon as he opened his mouth. "You should talk O'Malley; you can't tell a lady bard from a lady with a beard when you are three sheets to the wind. Last night you were easily four.

    "Shows what you know, There ain't no fourth sail on any vessel round here. I guess folk overestimate your abilities" The second dart hit a bull's eye. A satisfied grin crept over O'Malley's face.

    Flanigan picked up the third dart knocking down O'Malley's bull's eye.

    "You don't need eyes to see boy. Must I spell it out for you O'Malley? The woman's name was Lupine, practically yelped when you offered her a silver necklace and she smelled like wet dog."

    "What are you trying to say?"

    Flannigan stared directly at O'Malley. "Your lady friend WAS the best from the woods beyond Summerdale and bright as you are, you're probably one now as well."

    248 Words

  6. Critique Group

    Jacob sat on an old crate, scribbling endlessly into a battered Big Chief tablet with a stub of pencil that had seen its better days awhile ago.

    The gang in the general store had long-since become accustomed to Jacob’s odd ways and mostly indulged him. His folks had passed from the influenza and so he’d not had much guidance.

    He cleared his throat, “Ya’ll feel up to listenin’ ta my latest story? I reckon as it might be good enough for one of them New York City fancy magazines this time.”

    There was a low groan before old Amos Teague spoke up, “Another of yer damned spook stories? Ya may as well, boy. Otherwise, yer jest gonna sit and sulk all day.”

    Jacob grinned. Teague might seem a rough sort, but he’d been the one encouraged the young man to reach for his dreams. If he meant to be a writer then write. Jacob did just that.

    He’d barely started to read when Teague’s bark of laughter halted him mid-sentence.

    “What was that last line, boy?”

    “Uhh…let’s see….here it is…’ The air from the thing’s maw is hot and sour.’”

    “Okay, boy. Even if this IS about some made-up critter, I gotta ask ya sumthin’. Do ya truly think it’s proper to go insultin’ this thing’s mama and discussin’ her bodily functions? That ain’t right, boy…ain’t right at all.”

    As others joined Amos’ protest, Jacob realized he really needed to find a better-educated class of folks to judge his work.

  7. forgot again...250 words @klingorengi

  8. The air from the thing’s maw is hot and sour. She hadn't been told the machines proper name, she wouldn't have, they thought she couldn't speak English. But it just looked to her like a giant evil mouth with blades slicked with blood and entrails.

    Even through her mask Elena can taste the stench, bile rising and acid churning in her stomach and throat.
    "There's just no proper ventilation in here." Alex her coworker said, wiping the sweat from his brow with his bloodied sleeve.

    Elena just nodded, afraid to speak for fear of being sick, but more importantly afraid of being noticed. Her educated accent would be a dead giveaway amid the immigrant workers in the slaughter house.

    There had been rumors for months about illegal workers being hurt or disappearing. This was her chance to prove to her editor she was investigative reporter material and not just a fluff piece commentator because she was pretty.

    She'd been at the slaughter house for a week now and she'd tried to ingratiate herself as best she could with the other workers using her high school Spanish and speaking as little as possible but listening to everything.

    Suddenly she heard screams over the machinery. Alex had been caught up in that gaping maw, his arm mangled and his cries drawing attention. Two of the 'managers' pulled him from the machine, his arm a bloodied stump. They beat him till he was silent and unmoving.

    Elena had her story now. She ran.

    1. ooops forgot.

      250 words

  9. The Start Of Something Bad

    After the dust settled and the throaty echoes from the door being forced open had faded away, a profound silence filled the room.

    The light, from nowhere yet everywhere, dimmed for a moment as if the room had been waiting impatiently for him for a thousand years.

    He could hear the angry voice of the guardian trail away as the door closed itself, soon relieving him from the duty of listening to Trekmal’s continuous promises of death and disseverment for entering the sacred Temple of Afgranth.

    The air was still and arduous to breath. Dozens of holes carved into the rough, brown, sandstone walls held urns filled with the remains of Kings. An ornamental necklace hung around the neck of each jar, just as it had once hung around the neck of the contained when they were alive.

    Quiet as the breath of the dead, all light in the room joined around an large emerald polished smooth into an elaborated carving sprawled across the sand dusted floor.

    A green demon ascended from the jewel as if it were climbing out of the pit of Hell. Its eyes burned red and the air from the thing’s maw [was] hot and sour. Once standing upon the floor at full height, the devil looked down at the boy and laughed in a voice much too sinister to be from only one soul.

    With his wand clenched tightly in his hand, Alexander stood unwavering. He read the texts and the prophecy. He must win.

    @acenance - 250 Words - To be continued.

  10. I see it now. Haha. Funny how you don't see that misspelled word until AFTER you hit the publish button. Third from last paragraph elaborated should read elaborate.

  11. I finish feeding and leave their remains on the floor of the tunnel. I stand, looking across the pool, then return my gaze down the tunnel. The air from the thing’s maw is hot and sour, a mixture of smells from the exploded still, the boys’ corpses and the fetid water in the pool. The hunger, for a short time, is satisfied. I leave the place, the smells become overwhelming.

    The shuddering leaves of the aspens allow light to glimmer down on me as I make my way home on a different path from the one I followed the boys to the tunnel. Birds sit on branches, shading themselves from the afternoon’s heat. Soon enough it will be fall and they will be flocking together to migrate to their winter homes. I think I will enlist with them and follow them to their warm paradise. The Darkness does not care where I take as my home; as long as I feed, its primal needs are fulfilled.

    I step back onto the road leading back to the city. A breeze kicks up dust that muddies the droplets of blood on my clothes. I am lucky that my neighbors think me a working man that does odd jobs, as most times I have a disheveled appearance, which is a far cry from what my appearance should be. Ahead I see a man standing on the side of the road; I feel the hunger stir within me, ready for my next course.

    249 Words

  12. The thing’s maw is hot and sour. The elders are drawn to it, examining its façade and pointing, babbling on in their nonsensical way. I just sit and stare, wondering what in the world this thing is. I’ve seen things somewhat like this, although this particular one appears larger and much-more enthralling for the elders, covered with strange symbols and pictures. It’s as if they are powerless to its energy.

    One of the younger ones walks around behind me and begins to cry, tears streaming down his eyes as he says, “No, I don’t like it! I want to leave!” I don’t know if I should be afraid or if he’s just being melodramatic as he always is. Someone needs to speak up, say something, explain to me what this enormous thing is that we are standing in front of.

    Finally the elder female speaks. “Timmy,” she says, “Stop your whining! We’re getting Chinese whether you like it or not. Now grab your sister’s stroller and push her inside.”

    I sense him walk behind me, and we start to move into this awful, smelly monster. Now I understand. Chinese is what causes him to sob. Chinese is what he fears. I begin to cry as well.

    206 words

  13. Rumor and myth lead him to the highland, the rocky crag streaked with lines of broken rock. He’s lost his footing and slid down over the sharp pieces, but wiped away the blood and kept climbing. A sword drags down his belt, and he wonders again why he didn’t stick to his bow and arrow.

    Rumor and myth. An arrow isn’t enough to kill a dragon. Even if injured it that way, the beast’s head will still need to be cut clean from the body. They heal anything less. Talein will do anything to make his family safe. If this was the price the king required, Talein will pay it.

    He finally stumbles into a cleft in the rock, not quite a cave. It can’t be the dragon’s lair, though. The floor is littered with feathers. Talein leans on one of the walls to rest before resuming his climb. The air is thin and very cold this high up, each breath an effort.

    Turning to go, Talein finds himself nose to beak with the strangest bird he has ever seen. Also the largest, by far. It is moments before Talein sees the pair of strong legs beneath the animals that do not belong to a bird.

    “Get out,” the creature says. The words come clearly and the air from the thing’s maw is hot and sour. Perhaps this IS the dragon.

    231 words

    And yes, that is a gryphon. ;)

  14. The crimson elixir was taking effect, and Sean was grateful that his eyes and ears were less bombarded than when he’d first arrived. Martians were such exuberant revelers.

    Some blame the myriads of sense-dulling libations discovered in the miry subsurface pools. But the now discernible bedroom eyes, on his right, had Sean attributing it to some innate proclivity to copulate. Rampant celebration was but a guise for a lascivious race to get their "sex" on.

    “It’s only my first night here.” Sean was fearless, but not quite sure if he was yelling or not.

    “On the planet, or in this club?”

    Oh well, the body had given no clue, and Sean would not have bet on whether the voice was soft or not. Does gender even matter here?

    “The club”, Sean added, “I’ve been on the planet for a couple of weeks, but you probably know that we have to decompress and be vaccinated before we can move about freely.”

    “I also know that for your first night out you deserve the royal treatment.”

    “And what exactly would that be?” asked Sean, trying not to shrink back as it moved in close to him.

    “It begins like this.”

    The air from the thing’s maw is hot and sour. Sean knew that the guys at the station must be talking about him, because his ears sure were burning.

    “Can I get another one of those yellow drinks over here?” Sean turns without apologizing, “Make it two, one for the …”

    250 words

  15. “Would you like for me to stay?” Gabriel’s lips curved up on the right side just slightly as he waited for an answer I would not give, “I’ll not leave you Bird.”
    He sat on the side of the bed holding my hand. I cuddled to his side with my head resting next to our hands. I could feel a sensation wash over me and it was familiar like Gabriel’s voice.
    I let it linger around us and let my eyes grow heavy next to him. The air from the thing’s maw is hot and sour teasing my mind. I sighed breathing lightly on his hand. The hairs on his arm became taut and I closed my eyes whispering, “What is it that you hunger for?”
    “So intuitive little Bird.” Gabriel leaned back on the pillows leaving his hand where it was for me to hold while I let my eyes rest.
    I felt heavy. There was something mysterious about him and the hunger I felt from him grew within me. I blinked my eyes to ward off the sleep that fell on me like a cozy blanket. Before I knew it I was trapped but for what purpose I had yet to find out.

    205 words

  16. Rejection

    The air from the thing’s maw is hot and sour as it melts away the putrefied flesh. I remove my arms from the lava and close the jaws of the forge with the other two. Fedsa and Jikol appear before me as I peel the hardening rock off my rapidly regenerating skin.

    Jikol speaks to me with thunderous booms that translate as: “They are coming for you.”

    Fedsa then adds with soothing bell-like chimes, meaning: “They will die attempting to destroy you.”

    “And in so doing, they will accomplish their goal.” I grumble. My creations are rebelling against me, calling me a false god. I never claimed to be a god. They deified me on their own. Maybe if I was a god, I could solve this problem.

    “Sever the bond.” They speak simultaneously. The storm of shadows serving as their eyes arc like bolts of lightning while they stare at me.

    “Could they even survive without me?” My creations are as much a part of me as I am them. I used my own flesh and a sliver of my soul to bring them to life. Since I am a shapeshifter, the cells have taken permanent form, forged by their surroundings.

    “They have had time to adapt, renounce them.” The two creatures continue to speak in unison.

    My children burst into the room and attack me. I am forced to kill many, my body rotting quickly in response. “Hear me, I release you!” I shout, preventing our annihilation.

    250 words

  17. There are many things that creep in the night and I am one of them. A flex of muscle, a clench of a fist and I pushed off, jumping the gap between the two buildings. My pack was hunting on the ground. I preferred taking the high road. I couldn’t shape shift into a bird or anything like that but the fall was survivable.

    Demons are what I’m used to. I hunted one down in the shape of my brother and survived. Barely. But that wasn’t important. I was moving around and alive, so to speak, and the creature wasn’t. I got my brother’s soul back, we shared my body now.

    I leaned my head back and took a deep breath in. The stench clung to the air like ash, foul and cloying. A corner of my lip quirked up and I turned to follow it, moving with animal quickness. Another jump to the next building. There was a void in the darkness next to a stairwell. Claws extended further from my fingertips and I leapt for it. We rolled on the rough tar covered surface. The air from the thing’s maw is hot and sour. Jagged teeth snapped inches from my face.

    I gave a cackle, fangs flashing. I pushed my fingers into its tough hide. Blood gushed over my hand and arm and it howled in pain as I tore it apart, piece by piece.

    It picked the wrong city. I was the better monster.

    247 words

  18. Was it a coincidence that all of this seemed to be on her mind so much tonight, because no matter how hard she tried, she just couldn't shake the thoughts.

    The whole world seemed to suddenly narrow for her; there was just her and time seems to stop. It is scary; what she sees before her is so tangible to her, making her break out in a cold sweat, it is like some hideous monster opening its mouth as if to swallow her whole. The air from the thing's maw is hot and sour.

    She feels sick and stands so quickly, the chair falls over and her companion finally seems to take an interest in her.

    116 words

  19. "Hey, Billy Bob," I shout to my hunting buddy.

    "Yeah, Bubba?"

    "Git up here. What do you reckon this is?"

    The stench of decomposition fills the entire area. Billy Bob catches up to me at the mouth of the cave.

    "No idea," he says, "but this young 'un, here is a fresh kill. Looks like that older female died a couple of days before this 'un."

    "Never seen anything like it. Almost look like bigfoots."

    "Bigfoots? You been hittin' the moonshine agin, Bubba? Besides, it's 'bigfeet,' not 'bigfoots.'"

    "Well, I don't know nothin' 'bout any of that. You went to schoolin' longer 'n I did."

    Without warning, something lets out a deep, loud growl behind us. We turn around and there's the obvious husband and father of the family, so we slowly step away from the juvenile's body.

    The air from the thing's Maw is hot and sour, but now we are facing its Paw.

    155 Words

  20. #ThursThreads is now CLOSED! Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and see you next week. :)


Comments are on moderation, so they'll become visible once I've read them. Words, words, words. I love them. Have you a few to lend?

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.