Thursday, May 31, 2012

#ThursThreads - The Challenge That Ties Tales Together - Week 25

Welcome back to the Weird, the Wild, & the Wicked. It's Thursday, so what should you be doing? Writing #FlashFiction, that's what! Welcome to Week 25 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 25:

The ever gorgeous, color coordinated, Sci-Fi Sensualist, Cara Michaels.

And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.

The Prompt:

"Crushed brown fragments blew away on the breeze."

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


  1. (I thought I ended The Journey with Tuesday Tales, but how can I resist my own closing line from last week?)

    My entry: The Journey Part 4a

    Crushed brown fragments blew away on the breeze. With an almost-silent cry Jessa dropped back to her knees, searching for something, any tiny piece, to take back to the Colony.

    Amid the colorless jumble of rocks and broken pavement the brown scrap of leaf shone. Her cry of relief was no more than a murmur as she scrambled over. When she reached for it, a footfall behind her gave warning.

    She sucked in a breath and flung herself to the side just as the Ravager's twisted metal bar smashed down on the spot where she'd been.

    Rolling toward a chunk of concrete, she flipped and landed on her feet, already running. Adrenaline bucketed within her, giving her speed and strength and driving out the memory of Jazzy's end. The Ravagers liked to maim first, and then call to their Clan for a long game of pain, rape and torture.

    Jessa's fear kept her going. The heavy pack on her back weighed her down, but if she discarded it her entire journey would have been for nought.

    The Ravager's grunts edged closer, and she shrugged one arm out of the pack, prepared to sacrifice it to save her own life. Abandon it the way she'd abandoned Jazzy when the first smash of Ravager club knocked her to the cold, hard ground.

    A glimpse of stone walls and rusted iron towers ahead gave her strength anew. The Colony. A triumphant cry escaped her, a signal to the Gatekeeper.

    The gate creaked open.

    250 words

  2. My Love, My All
    by S Jayanth

    From the heavens came letters of console, but all the woman wanted was an invitation to be taken away too, just like her husband who was forced to take his repose. Lost in grief, she heard a mellowly carol from the yonder, she saw no one and was convinced it was her heart’s melancholic trepidation that was playing the tricks. Unable to bear the weight of the new emptiness, she collapsed to her knees, just like her husband who fell to never rise again.
    She gave in to her enormous pain. Her pure and true love for her husband, his white marble grave and her soul quenching grief became her whole, as she sat beside the stone, hugging it. Vines grew embracing the woman and the marble in affection, flowers blushed until her heart's last bloom, and then, all went pale.

    For all love she had for her husband, her purity and truthfulness conjured a bond stronger than any other, a divine bond, one that showed how one can love life, even an empty one, until the very end. Her husband, her life, her all. For she was an orphan when he took her into his warm embrace, that's when he promised her that he shall be with her forever.

    “Forever”, she whispered, still hugging the marble stone. The crushed brown fragments blew away on the breeze, taking with it her last words and her last, alone breath. And united, they were again. Now surely, forever.

    246 words

  3. “Betchya can’t catch me!” Jessica squealed, tearing off down the lawn.

    Dane sprinted after her, arms and legs pumping. “Betchya I can!”

    Their sneakers ripped through the carpet of reds, oranges and yellows that had fallen free from the trees that morning. The sky was a crystal clear azure above their heads, the telltale remnants of the first autumn chill burning away in the waxing sunlight.

    Jessica catapulted into the leaf pile. “Beat ya!” she shrieked, but Dane was only a beat behind.

    “Did not!” he argued, face shining with a dimpled grin.

    “Sore loser,” Jessica teased.

    Their carefree laughter petered away to quiet as they swam in the swell of leaves, Dane flexing his tiny fingers around the dying foliage. The moving van that was idling on the curb suddenly let out a loud honk, starling the children from their innocent silence. Dane stood quickly as his mother’s call echoed from the house next door.

    “Promise me we’ll be friends forever,” Jessica whispered.

    “Forever,” Dane agreed. He brushed off his clothes, leaves flying everywhere as the crushed brown fragments blew away on the breeze.

    Dane waved, the golden halo of his blond hair whipping around his face as he ran toward what would soon no longer be his house. Jessica waved back, and then sank down into the leaves, tiny tears slipping down her cheek.

    “Forever,” she repeated, but Jessica knew she’d never see him again.

    237 words

  4. They reached the edge of the forest before sunset. Rebecca saw the huddled sentinels of the trees give way to the slopes of a meadow, limned with orange dusklight.

    Erik grabbed her arm as she made to step forward.

    "We're here," he said. She followed the line of his gaze and saw the silvery glint of the magical circle that bounded the forest, half-buried beneath fermenting piles of autumn leaves.

    She smiled. "I guess this is where we part ways again."

    "I'm coming with you."

    Rebecca frowned. "You can't. You'll die."

    His smile drew haggard lines along his cheeks. "I'm tired, Becca. More tired than you can imagine. I don't want to go back. I want to come with you. Just a few steps."

    A thousand arguments raced through her head, silenced by the plea in his gaze. Rebecca swallowed her grief.

    "Okay." She held out her hand, and he took it, his flesh like soft bark.

    They stepped across the threshold. The sterile forest air gave way to a breeze, carrying the scent of lilies and fresh-cut grass.

    "It's nice," she heard him say in a contented voice -- and then his hand collapsed in hers like plaster. She turned just in time to see his smile, before the centuries caught up with him. In moments, his skin was parchment. Crushed brown fragments blew away on the breeze.

    She didn't say goodbye, but lifted the last of him in her palm and blew it toward the setting sun.

    249 words

  5. Emma woke to chaos. Her mother jolted back and forth across her room, screaming about the tide and ferry schedules. Daddy sat perfectly still in the corner—his mouth worked like the words wanted to pour out, but his voice had gone. And Harmony was cross-legged at the edge of the bed, staring with wide red eyes.

    “Get up, darlin’,” Mom hollered, stopping just long enough so Emma saw the socks gathered in her apron. “They’re coming for us.”

    “Who?” she asked. She was smothered in comforter, sweat collecting on her collarbones. She rubbed the sleep from the corners of her eyes and blinked against the faint vestiges of sun gleaming right at her through the glass. “Harmony, open the window if you please.”

    One moment Harmony stood at the sill, and the next she’d been vaporized. Crushed brown fragments blew away on the breeze. One pigtail was all that was left. It curled around itself on the floor, a fine mist of blood making designs the elastic band holding all that hair together.

    Emma froze but Mom tackled her into the corner. Daddy rose like fog from the chair, for what purpose, it wasn’t clear, but the next shot took him.

    “What’s happening?” Emma screeched into the press of her mother’s bosom.

    “They’re here.”

    215 words

  6. Inner Demons
    by Phoenix Lavan

    The dark star has changed me. It started this storm that now ravages my mind. The delicate glass globes of memories have been strewn about and shattered. I’m not certain who I am anymore.

    I have to stop it. It’s all I can think about now. Battered by the torrential winds, I struggle toward the star. I can see it. The demiurge of this destructive void.

    “You don’t have the right to feel sorry for yourself. You think your ‘problems’ are bad? Take a look at the people around you. Your problems are nothing compared to theirs. These people are struggling through life and yet they are happy. You have an easy life. You don’t have to struggle to stay alive.

    And besides, do you think other people aren’t lonely like you? You think you are the only one who feels disconnected? You disgust me.”

    “Shut up!” I scream at the deep resonant voice. A warhammer materializes in my hands when I reach the dark star. I lift it high above me. “Leave me alone!” I bludgeon the star. And I continued to bludgeon the star until its crushed brown fragments blew away on the breeze.

    I fall to my knees, hands sore and bleeding. “You have no right to feel sorry for yourself. Get up, you waste of space! Nobody will come to save you. You must save yourself.”

    “Are you okay? You’re looking pretty down today.” A coworker asks, pulling me from my mind. I fake a smile.

    250 words

  7. I should have said goodbye so long ago, but a part of me clung to youth’s folly still. He was my love, my heart, or so I thought until he trampled me bit, by bit, year, by year. Every year my will crushed. My spirit broken, with words chosen for their pain and destruction, made me feel it was my fault. I was not doing enough to make him happy. But what of my life, my destiny, my dreams?...I forgot them all for a few kind words here and there, after blows I couldn’t avoid and black eyes, I tried to hide. Lying battered broken on the floor a week ago; I raised his gun up high and pulled the trigger. A tunnel of light opens up in front of me, but I am afraid I cannot pass through the door what if hell awaits me?
    A hand reaches out to me from within and I hear a voice in my head.
    “Ask for the forgiveness you seek and if your heart is pure it shall be granted.”
    I am afraid but I think the words I want to say and the hand takes mine pulling me into the glorious light. I am reborn and yet I am torn. Through a window I watch as the flowers on our graves, crushed brown fragments blew away on the breeze and I wish I could live again. This time I’d walk away from him, be strong and bow to no man.
    249 words

  8. Crushed brown fragments blew away on the breeze from the open window. The enormous pot on the table before him, filled midway with the specks and shells of brown seeds floating in water, was certainly a curious sight. Michael studied it briefly before returning to the refrigerator.

    “Michael,” nagged his wife, Jill. “You know you have to eat healthier. Doctor’s orders.”

    He glanced at his wife, debated on whether to chastise her over her badgering tone, then returned to study the food-laden contents of the shelves. He began to grab several bags of luncheon meat, the enormous tub of mayonnaise, and several other rather unhealthy choices.

    “Michael! I told you that you have to eat healthier. I’m making you something now!”

    He eyed the pot suspiciously and asked, “Yeah, what?”

    “It’s flax seed. It’s filled with fiber.”

    “You expect me to eat that? You are a loon, woman!”

    “It’s like a fiber drink. Trust me.”

    She filtered the water from the seeds and poured him a large glass. He took it skeptically, sniffed it, and then drank it down.

    “There. You happy?”

    “Not yet. Tell me about Tammy.”

    His face suddenly turned red. How had she known? He was also so careful with their trysts.

    “Better tell me now, Michael. Flax seed does have fiber and is healthy in small quantities, but it’s also used to make cyanide.”

    228 words

  9. It was a dark and stormy night when she came into my life. With legs up to here, and a rack worth dying for, she looked like she was used to getting things her way. But the smell of liquor and cheap perfume told me she had a story to tell.

    “Archie Sloan?” she said.

    “That’s what the door says.”

    She took the seat in front of my desk and crossed her gams. I tried not to stare, but it’d been years since I’d been this close to anyone like her.

    “Do you mind putting out that cigar, and closing the window? It’s cold in here and I’ve had enough of men and their Cuban lovers.” Her voice was like honey

    I was out of my seat before she’d even finished speaking. I stubbed out on the window sill, the crushed brown fragments blew away on the breeze, and shut the window.

    “Anything else?” I tried to play it cool, like she wasn’t the finest dame to ever set foot in here.

    “I need you to find someone for me?”

    “I don’t work cheap.”

    “I have money, Mr. Sloan.” She reached into a handbag, one of those designer jobs from across the pond, and ripped out a wad of green.

    I didn’t want this dame going anywhere. “Sure, I’ll take it.”

    “Good.” She leaned forward and turned those flinty eyes, like chips of sapphire, one me. “Now fix me a drink and I’ll tell you all about it.”

    248 words

  10. Title: Broken Promises

    The maelstrom was deafening. Alana huddled in her living room and watched in horror as the black apparitions swirled around the house. As much as she hoped David would return soon, she was worried what would happen to him if he tried to get through what had surrounded her house.

    The howling became louder as the house began to creak, the high-pitched noises of straining wood pierced through everything else.

    Alana nervously looked at the door and window frames where the Ward family seal was engraved. David promised her that the destroyers couldn’t get past the seal. It certainly seemed like the destroyers were trying their best to prove him wrong.

    She clutched her and her grandmother’s pendants as she backed up against the wall farthest from the windows. The shrieks coming from the wood became snaps. Hairline cracks started to form along the window frames.

    Suddenly, the noise stopped and the room was still. In disbelief, Alana pushed away from the wall and took a tentative step towards the windows. Surely the destroyers hadn’t given up so quickly.

    Alana was blown back against the wall as the destroyers rebounded. The windows shattered, pelting her with shards of glass. The protective family seals were pulverized. She heard maniacal laughter as crushed brown fragments blew away on the breeze and the apparitions rushed inside.


    223 words

  11. She slammed the picture frame into the table and enjoyed the way it shattered; the feel of it as it broke into pieces in her hands; the splintering squeal as it relented, satisfying her rage.

    She continued to tear away at the frame, chewing it up in her hands, as she gnawed on a thought in her head. It was a nasty thought, one she shouldn’t entertain but she enjoyed its delinquent outrage. The image of what it would do to him brought a smile to her face. But should she do it?

    While weighing the potential outcomes it could bring, she went outside into the garden. Her angry fists were full of the remains of the frame, so when the wind picked up she opened them up and watched as the crushed brown fragments blew away on the breeze. Their release brought her release; the rage turning to calm, bringing a certainty that her plan had to be put into action.

    She returned to the lounge and picked up the phone dialling the number that was etched into her memory. The sweet voice of her counterpart answered and she hesitated for a second before launching into her speech; one that had played out in her mind for many years, but never believed would be spoken. And as her counterpart received the news, she was awarded the joy of hearing her own rage reflected. He would come home to an empty house. No wife to keep him from her anymore.

    250 Words

  12. From the East the sun rose, shining over tents and dogs. Women started breakfast fires.

    The wind blowing from the west over plains and bison. Children chasing one another through wildflowers.

    The country fell away from their feet downhill to the east and west. Facing one another, each held their arms out, displaying lack of threat. Tentative, they approach one another until, toe to toe, they embrace.

    "Your daughter is well."

    "And so is your sister. Expecting her first child this fall."

    Filling the peace pipe, each added a pinch of his own blend. Crushed brown fragments blew away on the breeze. Another year of truce.

    106 words

  13. He rubbed his hands together and the last of the crushed brown fragments blew away on the breeze. The last of his old life, dry as tinder, floating off into the sunset. The Dump Truck of life dropped a big ole' steamy pile on his front lawn with no way to get rid of it. All he could do was spread it around and hope it made the grass look nice in the end.

    His father always said, “If it has tits or wheels, it'll give your problems.” This one had tits.

    He enjoyed his life. Drinking, smoking, partying. Laughing at the whole thing. Doing it his way. Then, BAM! Girlfriend. No big deal, she was fun, they got along great, and she made life that much better. Then, BAM! Pregnant.

    Suddenly, adult. Now she said he had to give it all up. It was time to be dad. What did he know about being a dad? Dad's were a-holes. He was no a-hole. But he did enjoy making her happy, he did love her. They did have fun together no matter what. Maybe she was right, maybe he could do this. Weed helped get him through high school and college, but now it just made him stupid and sleepy. Can't enjoy wife and kid when you're sleepy and stupid.

    Fine, then. It goes. Crumbled away. Returned to the earth from whence it came.

    This better be one hell of a cool kid they're about to have.

    247 words

  14. The drums thrummed a primal beat and reverberated through the skin of all those who were surrounding the fire. The women danced around the priestess, bodies undulating and rolling to the music. She danced with the large snake that wrapped around her body, wild hair whipping in the wind. For every sway that she made to the left, the women dancing around her swayed to the right. When she went to the right, they went left. The dancing was chaotic but there was order within all the bodies moving around the shirtless man kneeling in front of the bonfire, his own body swaying back and forth. Skin the color of coffee with milk in it had painted designs along his arms, chest and back. His face was painted like a skull. A live rooster was in his one hand and a sharp blade in the other. He slid the flat edge of the blade along the snake before cutting off the rooster’s head, blood spurting out of the stomp as the body struggled and the wings flapped.

    Drums increased in rhythm, the women responded by dancing faster, more frenetic. The white paint had specks of red blood that slid down his chest. The rooster, head and body, were tossed in the fire before he picked up dust. Crushed brown fragments blew away on the breeze into the fire and it exploded into a blue green fire, an image appearing. The music stopped as they prostrated themselves to the ghostly form.

    250 words

  15. Together, they unpacked the groceries and prepared supper, chatting and laughing while they worked.

    When they were finished, they brought their food out to the patio to eat while they watched the sun set. The trees were vibrant with fall colours – greens and browns and reds and oranges and golds – there wouldn't be very many days left to enjoy the warm evenings. As if nature was agreeing with that observation, a dried leaf fell on the table between them and he picked it up, crushed it, and released it back to nature.

    Crushed brown fragments blew away in the breeze.

    100 words
    (sorry for the double post!!)

  16. "Priceless"

    Aoki pushed into the metal forest carelessly, the alloy spears clanging as freezing wind shoved them aside. His men fanned out around him, their armor clanking against the steel shoots.

    The silver forest was known for devouring each foraging crew that entered it, but his crew had slipped pasts the Voracious Eaters, had battled the poisonous Brooms, their bristles leaving some of his men paralyzed, other zombified. But he couldn’t stop. Would never stop.

    He couldn’t afford to.

    And just when he felt like they would wander forever, like the curse of the Silver was simply to never end, the shining poles thinned to reveal a stone plateau. Fog and clouds swirled, disguising the treacherous ground where an altar waited in the center. Unguarded.

    It was too easy.

    Halting his men by raising his hand, Aoki stepped into the clearing. He felt a vibration start in the ground, a humming that only could exist in metal. Before taking another breath, he quickened his step, reached the altar and slammed the butt of his blaster into the case that sat there. He grasped the key as armored bodies emerged from the fog, and the humming became clear: it was the thrum of their steady, slow advance. And his death.

    He had the cure, the only answer for star sickness. The only answer for his wife. And he would never make it home to give it to her.

    He crumpled the package and crushed brown fragments blew away on the breeze.


  17. #ThursThreads is now CLOSED. Thank you to everyone who wrote this week and we'll see you next week! :)

  18. Rebekah PostupakMay 31, 2012 at 8:05 PM

    Alast watched in horror as crushed brown fragments blew away on the breeze, swirling gracefully before jerking skyward and out of sight. Everything blew away on the breeze here: leaves, trash, unfastened vehicles, unchained people.

    “The breeze,” he said one day to his supervisor when making his regular report, “is likely to kill us all before long.”

    Alast’s supervisor, stationed safely on a planet two months’ travel from Shagah, laughed at him. “It’s a breeze, you fool. Man up. What will you do if there’s an actual gust one day?”

    But Alast discovered shortly after his arrival that the gentle breeze with its herculean strength defined this planet more than its prized mineral exports or even its brilliant but subdued native population. No home was immune; every Shagahn door bore at least one death notch.

    Alast manacled himself obediently to his chains, lumbering between transit posts. The Shagahns had assured him he’d be safest this way, and this is how he’d traveled for weeks now. Why then did those brown fragments disturb him so badly?


    A finger-light brush against his cheeks echoed the sudden, intimate whisper. Invisible fingers teased at the locks (would they hold??). Terror crawled across Alast’s tongue, down his throat.

    “Help me!” A hoarse cry. Whose?? No--

    Alast clutched his chains as the locks succumbed.

    The breeze curled around his ankles, weeping softly, desperately. It cried out again.

    The *breeze* cried out---??

    Alast drew in a deep breath, breeze filling his lungs.

    He let go.

    250 words

    1. Rebekah PostupakMay 31, 2012 at 8:06 PM

      Missed it by THAT MUCH. :) (Now I can go work on it without freaking out, maybe.)


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.