Thursday, May 24, 2012

#ThursThreads - The Challenge That Ties Tales Together - Week 24

Welcome back to the Weird, the Wild, & the Wicked. Right now it's Thursday, so what should you be doing? Writing #FlashFiction, that's what! Welcome to Week 24 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 24:

The darkly romantic curmudgeon and word busker, Claire Gillian.

And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.

The Prompt:
"The whir of wings broke the silence."

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


  1. The anticipation sat in my stomach, a stone thrown into a sea of nerves and fear and hope.

    “What are you so worried about, Lucy?” Dr. Elijah asked. He propped his ankle on his knee, a tablet balanced on top.

    The whir of wings broke the silence, but it took a moment for me to realize it was my heart, bent on flying out of my chest.

    “The same thing I’m always freaked out about,” I said. “When have I ever been concerned about anything else?”

    “Now, you know your paranoia is unfounded.” He did this thing with his mouth, a press of his thin lips, like he wanted to say more, but didn’t.

    For just a moment, I swore the tip of his forked tongue peeked out between those lips.

    “Do I?” I asked. He didn’t think I noticed the gills behind his ears.

    “I’m not going to turn into a giant lizard.”

    I gripped the arms of my chair. “I’ll keep that in mind.” He stared me down. Just before he looked away, his pupils thinned, and his irises turned yellow.

    183 words

  2. June glared at the bare back of the man in front of her. She had been working so hard to find them something to eat and all David had done was gather fronds for a shelter. He hadn’t started building it yet! Another storm could come at any moment and they would have nowhere to hide.

    “Here,” she said, dropping her harvest in a pile. “When you have somewhere for me to store or prepare it let me know.

    David whirled around and seized her arm. “Why must you put everything on me? It’s not my fault the storm came from east when every other one has come from the south. What do you expect of me, woman?”

    She shook her arm free. “I expect you to remain human, civil.”

    “What if I’m done being civil?” he asked, stepping closer to her. Her eyes were filled with the expanse of his broad chest, which had only become more muscular with the work they were doing.

    She hated when he did this, acted the barbarian to get a rise out of her.

    However, he did something different. He tipped his chin down and kissed her. “I’m not fighting with you anymore,” he said, hand ripping open the knot of her sarong.

    Something snapped and she pressed herself closer, pulling him to the sand over her, the island a silent observer.

    The whir of wings broke the silence.

    “Damn their timing.”

    239 words

  3. Someone had paid the freight on a small helibot, and it was swinging back and forth through our proximity sensor field. The whir of wings broke the silence after the procedure.

    That's a nice, clinical term for what Lucy and I had done to Vlad. Bloodless. Which, strictly speaking, was true. Didn't mean it wasn't messy along several different axes. It had been anything but clean. A human would probably feel compelled to waste a lot of hot water in our situation.

    I opened the door to see what the little flying fuck wanted. I had processing to do.


  4. They two pressed closer to one another, both trying to peer through the darkness for any sign of danger. Ebby was out of breath and the gash on her leg was still bleeding. She clutched it, winced. “I’ve got to do something about this.”

    She sank to the ground and ripped the bottom of her shirt off in a long string of fabric to form a tourniquet. As she tied it tightly she glanced up at Amanda. The girl’s cherub like face was scrunched into a tensed frown as she kept watch.

    “It’s going to be okay, kid.”

    Amanda, tall for a 13 year old, but thin as if she’d shot overnight, looked down at Ebby with crazy and fearful eyes. “It’s gonna be okay?! Why are you actin’ so calm? Until today I didn’t even know magic and supernatural shit existed and now here I am out in the woods with you trying to fend of a Griffith. Griffith!!! As in a mystical being that isn’t supposed to exist on Earth! And you think it’ll be okay?!”

    Ebby pulled herself to feet and was about to shake Amanda in an attempt to calm her down but just as she reached her hands out the whir of wings broke the silence.

    “Aw, fuck…”

    213 words

  5. She sucked in another wheezing breath and her whole frame shook with a bout of coughing. She shut her eyes, now more breathless than before.
    Everything was growing harder.
    She rubbed her chest, trying to alleviate the thick pain in her chest but her touch felt obtrusive and rough. Nothing like his, with their power to ease her deepest aches and frets.
    The sun shone warmth down on them all and the children played, the elderly chatted and she . . . she was untouched by it and wrapped the woolen shawl even tighter around herself.
    However many palpable pains she suffered, she did not mind.
    All would come soon enough.
    She shaded her eyes and tipped her head a little higher.
    “I . . .” she gasped and covered her mouth in disbelief.
    The whir of wings broke the silence. Their beating slowed and brought him in his beautiful form lower, hovering at her level.
    She reached a hand towards him but did not touch him. She didn’t dare as she spoke. “You’re here.”
    “I told you not to do this,” he said, his voice like a whisp of air.
    “I had to,” she whispered.
    He was hurt, but his eyes met hers and he took her hand in a moment of sweet remembrance.
    And the world, it was swept into iridescence.

    223 words

  6. I awoke bound hand and foot in a dark cavernous place. It seems that I was to be the newest sacrifice to the monsters in the cave. I managed to untie my feet and hands and see the darkening of the sky outside the cave opening. The whir of wings broke the silence. Small creatures black as night turned into people in front of my eyes. One stepped in front of them all, as if to protect me.
    “Minerva is that you?”
    “Hermes? You survived the sacrifice” I asked stunned.
    “In a matter of speaking, but I am changed.”
    “I fear no change in you .Am I still your love?”
    “Minerva, I am a winged creature have you no fear?”
    “I do not fear you, Hermes.”
    “Let us have a taste Hermes. Do you mean to keep this morsel to yourself?” one of the people demanded trying to push aside Hermes.
    “This is my bride. I claim her before all here.” Hermes responded turning to me and taking me in his arms he bit into my neck.
    “Minerva I must make you like me to protect you. I hope you will forgive me.”
    Hermes then offered me his wrist dripping blood into my mouth and I fall asleep. When I awake it is night, I hear a rustle. In the blink of an eye I join the whir of wings. We scour the countryside looking for prey, for I am now the monster of the cave.
    246 words

  7. “I can’t do this anymore.” The words broke free from her throat, as hoarse and parched as her heart felt – like it had bled free of all emotion.

    But that wasn’t the truth. Inside, she felt as if she were dying.

    She hazarded a glance to where he stood in front of her. They'd met by the park bench – the one near the hotel where they’d spent so many stolen hours.

    Moments she should have been spending with her husband.

    Moments his wife stared at the clock, wondering why his meetings were taking so long.

    “We have to stop this,” she added. “You know we do.”

    He didn’t answer, his arms rigid, his hands opening and closing into empty fists. The stillness between them was a dense, solid thing - a quiet cloud of shame and regret. It blocked out the warming rays of sunlight and musical chirping of birds in the branches above them.

    Two finches suddenly took flight from the leaves, and the whir of wings broke the silence.

    “You’re really ending this then?” he finally asked.

    She nodded, her fingers moving of their own accord, reaching out to him for one last comforting touch.

    He turned before she could reach him, though, and walked away from her life without even uttering a goodbye.

    216 words

  8. Different Job Descriptions

    As night fell, Father Timothy Flynn found himself in what could only be described as a “distressed” neighborhood. Fatigue and naiveté ensured he never saw the small man with the large gun until it was too late.

    The man’s hands shook but his voice was firm, demanding the priest’s money and valise. Overcome with fear, the cleric resorted to his only defense. He prayed. Time seemed to stop and the outside world was distant as he whispered the words.

    Timothy’s eyes shot wide as the whir of wings broke the silence. The man, if man he were, was tall and well-muscled and exuded an air of confidence and supreme power. His powerful black wings were spread wide seeming to make him blend into the night. The smile on his face seemed more predatory than reassuring.

    His voice was calm, “Your prayers have been heard.” He turned toward the would-be thief and, without ado; the immense silver sword in his hands dispensed final, terminal justice.

    He turned back to the priest who had fallen to his knees, retching. Father Timothy looked up, his face red with sorrow and righteous indignation. “How dare you? He is a God of love and compassion and forgiveness. How DARE you?!”

    The angel replied, with a snort, “The name’s Abbadon, padre. My job description’s a bit different than yours is, y’know? Look it up some time. Have a blessed day, now.”

    Father Timothy continued looking to the heavens long after the angel was gone from sight.

  9. Normally one would expect the joyous refrain of perpetual praise to fill the halls of heaven. But there was nothing normal about this moment in eternity. The all-knowing self-existent One had displayed a reaction, heretofore never observed. You might have expected the first created seraphs to have seen it all, but even they were struck dumb into silence. But after the briefest moment, wherein their duty was comprehended, the whir of wings broke the silence.

    Without an utterance, legions deployed as if orders had been previously dispatched. The flurry of activity, born of righteous urgency, was devoid of trepidation. The universe was about to witness first hand that God is not mocked.

    Despite the timelessness of eternity this would be the instance that would calibrate all chronologies. There would be no future unindebted to this soon past event. The turning point of all of existence had come to its manifest occurrence.

    And yet, the Holy One is to be praised forever. So, despite the virtual moment consumed by absolute obedience, heaven again immediately resounded with the neverending worship. This, as all of creation was imminently about to be made fully aware as to why.

    At least, that was the plan.

    200 words

  10. Drake panted, the sword through his gut screaming pain through him as it pinned him to the great tree. He strained against the bindings holding his hands. Even with his considerable strength, he had no leverage to break them.

    The Dryads aren’t going to be pleased. Drake snorted inwardly. I’m not pleased.

    “I’ve searched for decades for you, Evil One,” the fanatic said casually, a feral light burning in his eyes. “You’re the progenitor, the first, and I’ve been charged with your demise.”

    Drake wanted to laugh, but the sword prohibited it. “The first? Not hardly.”

    “You’re the one they called Dracula all those years ago, are you not?”

    An old rush of guilt for his many crimes weaseled its way through his mind, but Drake just gave the fool a flat look. “You got all this from Bram Stoker’s novel?”

    “I did research! I know the true you. Vampire. The worse evil to ever come upon this earth. And I shall smite thee!” He raised an ornate curved knife encrusted with glittering jewels.

    The whir of wings broke the silence and they both looked up. The fanatical man gasped and backpedaled as an iridescent green dragon roared and blew a swath of fire between him and Drake. The flames afforded Drake some comfort as his life bled away, but he enjoyed the panic on his tormentor’s face.

    “Dear God, there’s a dragon!”

    “So glad you noticed.” Drake gave a watery smile. “Did I mention she’s a friend of mine?”

    250 ineligible #WIP500 words

  11. Huddled, Jessa reached for the leaf, easing it from the rusty old fence. Brown and sere, it could crumble to dust in her hand if she weren't careful.

    How could she get it back to the Colony intact? Her pack was filled to bursting with the precious cargo she'd traveled so far to find. But the leaf, if indeed that's what it was, could be even more precious. She had to get it back to the Leader. He'd know if it was a remnant of the Before or if it meant life was returning to the planet.

    It might make him notice her.

    Her heart bounced, then steadied. Not likely. Her sigh was invisible in the moaning wind as she resumed her trudge, gentle fingers curved to shield the leaf.

    Always watching, ever listening, she sniffed the acrid air, seeking a first sense of the Colony. The ruined road would lead her there, she knew, and she prayed to the None to bring her home tonight, before full dark made traveling too dangerous.

    The whir of wings broke the silence, and Jessa dropped to the ground, just one more rock in the rubble. Only her eyes moved as she squinted to discern. Was it a Ravager's raptor or a dove from the Colony? Had it seen her?

    The bird landed nearby, and she sighed in relief. Gathering herself, she rose to finish the journey. She looked for the leaf. Crushed brown fragments blew away on the breeze.

    247 words
    The Journey Part 4

  12. I stop at the end of the alley. The streets are busy and I’m not good in a crowd. I put on my sunglasses, pull the hood over my head and shove my hands into the hoodie’s pouch. Don’t look at them. Don’t touch them. You’ll be fine. I think, my deep breaths giving obeisance to the cold air.

    I bounce on my heels a few times then rush out, my head low, watching their feet. I can ignore their minds if I don’t contact their skin or eyes. Scoot left. Dodge right. So far so good. But then, a pair of ragged shoes captures my eyes long enough to make a mistake.

    We collide, but only I stumble and fall back. My hands fail to protect my posterior from impact. Wincing, I don’t even notice my sunglasses and hood fell off until he speaks. “I’m sorry, miss. I was lost in thought.” A hand offers assistance. I freeze. “Are you okay?”

    “Fine,” I splutter and hop up, avoiding his hand.

    “You have very pretty eyes. Though, contacts, I presume?”

    I can’t stop myself from looking up. Our eyes meet. The haggard, middle-aged man’s mind is silent, but full of visions. Happiness on an empty world. He smiled at his creation. A silent beauty devoid of true life, but alive just the same. Until… the whir of wings broke the silence.

    The demiurge’s child was stolen from him, forced into subservience.

    I break my gaze, tears flowing freely.

    249 words

  13. She looked at her reflection in the window. This wasn’t right. She grimaced. But what wasn’t right? She had memories of her life that just didn’t seem to fit—they didn’t seem real. It was like a bizarre dream that she couldn’t wake up from.

    “Honey, are you O.K.?” he asked.

    That voice. Something about that voice felt like it was interlaced with trickery. She turned to face him. He stood on the sidewalk with iced coffee drinks in his hands. His smile…a memory tried to push its way to the surface of her mind but something held it back. She stared at him, she knew him and her mind told her that she did, but something still wasn’t right. Yes, she knew him but not in this way. He was something else, not her lover.

    He could see something come over her. He did not say anything else, just stood there expectantly, waiting to see if she knew the truth. She took a step backwards, the wall of glass stopped her. What was happening? She knew this wasn’t real now. He would not be here this way, neither would she.

    The whir of wings broke the silence. It startled her. She looked over her shoulder at the brilliant white wings that had sprouted from her back. She looked back at him. He no longer held the iced drinks. He stared at her with sadness.

    “If you truly loved me,” she said, “you would not use this trickery to woo me.”

    250 Words

  14. The Heist

    Night had fallen on Pixie Hollow and all the good fairies were abed.

    Two shadowy figures stood beneath an impressive looking mushroom, its thick base and wide head made it easily the most imposing building in town. The words, First National Bank, were written in large lettering above the door.

    “It’s weird how they stay indoors,” said Grilock as he handed the tools to his partner, Vyklar. “A creature whose very movements generate a cascade of light shouldn’t be scared of the dark.”

    Vyklar crouched before the door. Grilock kept watch while Vyklar went to work, the tools moving in and out of the lock with practiced efficiency.


    “It’s not the dark they’re afraid of,” Vyklar said. “It’s us.”

    Grilock grinned; he liked the idea of being scary. He followed his partner inside the bank. The pair knew exactly what they had to do. Find the stash of Pixie Dust and get out.

    Vyklar leapt the counter and rifled through the safety deposit boxes while Grilock tackled the vault. A walk in the park, he thought. Everything was running like clockwork.

    The whir of wings broke the silence.

    The two gremlins looked up.

    “It’s the Pi-Po?” Vyklar called out over the wail of sirens.

    Blue and red light flashed everywhere as the Pixie Police stormed the building. Grilock frantically tried to look for a way out, but they were trapped.

    A large pixie strode toward them, and he didn’t look scared at all.

    246 Words

  15. “This isn’t a great idea, you know.” Winston gave a nervous around the sky as the sun set, sliding a bloody finger along the horizon.

    “Don’t worry about it. The ship is fine, the lightning guns are fine. We’ll be fine.” Serena gave him a wide grin. “And if you feel you’re going to be sick, lean over the railing.”

    “It’s not that, it’s where we’re going. The Vodou of the South. Things are so much different there. Old magic.”

    “Old magic has been appearing all over the place. Don’t go into the jungles of Mexico unless you really want to be threatened by cannibalism.” She flipped some hair back and patted the satchel slung over her shoulder. “Besides, whoever is in charge should be able to help us figure this out.”

    “There’s magic, there is the ancestral spirits and then there is old Magic. You don’t want to mess with what is going to be there.”

    “We’ll be fi-“

    “DAMMIT, Serena!” He gritted his teeth. “Would you take this SERIOUSLY for once? Where we are going is not a place to play around. They work in more than just money and that damn book might cost you more than you think.”

    Her lip pushed out in a pout and she glanced away, watching him from the corner of her eye. “Fine, I will. Geez.”

    He let out a sigh and rubbed at his face. His mouth opened to apologize when the whir of wings broke the silence.

    248 words

  16. "Belief"

    As far as last moments went, hers was not what she had expected, wanted, desired. She was a warrior and deserved to die as such: on the end of a sword, not impaled on a spear, bleeding out on grass that was shiny with the blood and innards of soldiers.

    The edges of her vision blurred first, then blackened, curling in like a burned piece of paper. The spear through her side felt like fire-wrapped spikes and every time she moved, they churned.

    She coughed and felt her lips moisten. She shucked her helmet with a terrible shriek. It rang in the stillness. She had been forgotten by her comrades. Would be forgotten by her family. If Odin existed, he’d have forgotten her, too.

    She would have laughed if it wouldn’t have killed her. Odin. Valhalla. Myths and bullshit both. She closed her eyes and hoped the loneliness would be kept at bay by the pain. If anything, don’t let that fail her, too.

    But then the whir of wings broke the silence. She didn’t dare open her eyes, for these were great wings—bigger than the wings of anything she’d ever seen, ever known of.

    She heard the crunch of boots. No, she didn’t believe in angels.

    “Let’s go home,” a gentle voice said. She opened her eyes, then. No, she didn’t believe in angels.

    But she had to believe in Valkyries.


  17. Quitting time. Everyone headed home. Following routine paths. Not me. I drove, hoping she’d be there. I left the car in a parking lot at an all night grocery, walking the two blocks to the shore of the bay. I followed the shoreline, North a couple of miles. Until the trees reached the water’s edge. It wasn’t easy to follow the path in the dark. I went to the tree she’d marked. Just where she said it would be. I turned to the West, and went to the next tree. Then North East. To the last tree.

    She was waiting. We were alone. Just us. No tent. We would sleep under the stars that night. Two lonely, broken hearts, knowing no one cared. We stretched out, on a blanket, on the ground. I leaned against a tree. She leaned against me.

    We opened the pills and each had a handful of them. We opened the bottles of Jack Daniels. One for each of us. We took our time. Waiting for the pills to kick in. Lunestra. We each took several handfuls that night. And we drained the bottles of Jack. She fell asleep on me. It was beautiful.

    As I drifted off to sleep, the last thing I remember was how the whir of wings broke the silence. And then. Everything was gone.

    227 words

  18. “What do you mean 'No?'” She asked a little miffed.

    He smiled. “You broke my heart. I got over it. Then you came back and I let you. Again, you broke my heart. Again, I got over it. Do you see the cycle? Do you see what we've become?”

    “That was years ago, we've changed. Grown up. We can make this work now,” she wasn't pleading, but she did seem to want to convince him.

    “I won't do this again. I won't be defined by my broken heart.”

    She just stared at him. Nothing to say. The sun on her face made it obvious to him why he kept falling in love with her. She was the most beautiful woman he ever dated. But there were deep flaws under that lovely surface. A tempest. She always needed something he couldn't offer and she couldn't define. All she could promise him was continual heart ache.

    The whir of wings broke the silence. A bumble bee, flitting from flower to flower on the rhododendron. Spring in full bloom.

    “I need stability in my life. You haven't been that and I don't see it happening,” he said, not sure if it was a lie. He needed to move on with his life.

    They exchanged a few more words but ultimately said goodbye. He looked around at all the flowers in his front yard. All new and all amazing. Every year spring brought a new beginning, this time it brought one for him too.

    250 words

  19. He'd been leaning on the rail and staring at nothing for he didn't know how long before the whir of wings broke the silence and his thoughts. He looked up to see crows fleeing from their perches as a car creep up the driveway. Crossing the verandah toward her, he watched as she stepped out of the car. A wide smile spread across her face when and, ignoring the groceries in the back seat, she came to him, wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him.

    "You okay?" she asked when they parted and he smiled back at her.

    100 words
    (hopefully I posted right this week!)

  20. #ThursThreads is now CLOSED! Thank you to all who wrote and we will see you next week. :)


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