Thursday, June 7, 2012

#ThursThreads - The Challenge That Ties Tales Together - Week 26

Welcome back to the Weird, the Wild, & the Wicked. BIG NEWS: There's a really cool video interview of Julianna Morris, the heroine from Queen Bitch of the Callowwood Pack, going on today over at Nara Malone's blog. Stop by to check it out.

In the meantime, It's Thursday, so what should you be doing? Writing #FlashFiction, that's what! Welcome to Week 26 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 26:

The author, reviewer, and Fantasy/Sci-Fi enthusiast, Jalisa Blackman.

And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.

The Prompt:

"They stepped across the threshold."

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


  1. Shea stood quietly behind her father, watched his feet as he walked before her. She glanced up, wincing at the sight of the Heavy Gate and stopped cold when light began to pour through the crack, when they began to open. She couldn’t do this.

    Her father turned, gripped her arm, drew her forward as she steadily pulled back. “Shea!” His voice was a low, deadly whisper.

    “I can’t,” she said back. “I can’t do this. I won’t do this! You can’t make me!”

    Her father shook her so hard that her head lolled. “This is an honor, a most high honor! You have been chosen! You will do this for the good of human-kind. You will!”

    Shea sobbed and threw herself back into the waiting chest of Tah-Har Nigroth, the king’s guard and counsel, the man who came to her and told her that she had been the Choice. She stared up into his face, the head of a lion with a mane as dark as the night, moonless, sky. His strong paws gripped her, pulled her to the side. She whimpered as he dried her tears and ran a soothing hand down her hair.

    “You will do this, little one,” His deep voice sounded. “You will be strong. Show no fear. My master is not a cruel man, and you will be well taken care of.” He took her hand, pulled her forward. “Come.”

    They stepped across the threshold into the court and the doors shut behind them.

    250 words

  2. The elevator couldn’t move fast enough. Even those few seconds, their hands roamed sliding under clothing, searching for skin.

    The beep was almost lost in the sound of their heavy breaths, their loud kisses. Stumbling, they bounced off walls and other doors in search of theirs. Clothing was discarded in the hallway, ignored and unwanted.

    Reaching around, he slid the key into the lock and they stepped across the threshold.

    “Should I?” The words were cut off in another kiss and the slamming of the door.

    “Leave them. They can wait. I need you now.” And need was the prevalent temper in the room. Desire, hunger, thirst, aching, longing, burning need. Only one thing would fill it and neither were willing to wait a second longer than necessary. No beds, no sheets, no gentle warming caresses. Those had been exchanged on the way here. Soft spoken words of promise, small nips and licks along exposed skin, all that had been explored. Now they were left with need. Back to the closed door it began, but it didn’t finish for hours.

  3. “There are doors in life you just don’t open. Thresholds you don’t cross. ‘Cause you’ll lose everything.” I remembered those words. I looked at Elaine, leaned forward, and gently let my lips touch hers. For just one heartbeat.

    Her fingertips gently touched my cheek. “Are you ready?”

    I knew I would never be ready. I was terrified. That was normal. I took a long look into her sky blue eyes. “I told you how dangerous you are to me.”

    She smiled. My heartbeat grew stronger. “And I promised I’d never hurt you.”

    It was time. Time to escape the trap of my dead end life. Where ever day was the same. Where nothing ever changed. I’d never found anyone to love. Worked in the same job all my life. Monday through Friday, eight to five. I was the American Dream. Success. A house. A car. Everything I wanted.

    I cried myself to sleep night. Took my headache pills every morning when I got to work. I never smiled. Never.

    Until she found me.

    I’d been waiting for her. She woke me up. Like Snow White kissing Prince Charming, waking him from the evil King’s spell, and the poison of the apple.

    Now, I was walking through the door of my old life. Leaving everything behind. Except Elaine. As we walked through the door I thought, “They stepped across the threshold, into a life they would explore together.”

    244 Words.

  4. Fel spread his wings, coasting low over the ground. He crowed happily, free from the aerie for the first time in his young life. Cob hung on his back, clinging in terror. The gryphon hadn’t fledged yet, couldn’t fly, but he could glide.

    They stepped across the threshold, but Cob stopped Fel. “You wait here. Be right back.”

    Fel clicked his beak but nodded. Probably thinking eagerly of the climb back up to the aerie, something Cob wasn’t looking forward to at all. He was getting old.

    The council room was loud with hisses, clicks, brays, and roars. The strange assembly were grouped by species, forming a square around the statue in the middle. He approached from the north, coming in behind the trio of gryphons, including his own friend Anther. He was glad he hadn’t approached from the south or east. Either the basilisk or the manticore might have eaten him on sight. Humans were their preferred food source. The final group were the unicorns. It was a head like theirs that was raised on the statue in the center. The four headed statue showed a gryphon on the side Cob faced, so he presumed a basilisk and manticore were on the other two sides.

    “What in the name of Chimera is happening?” one of the manticore roared.

    Cob watched with the others as the unicorn head bowed low. Slowly all the other heads did the same, revealing a hairless human head in its center.

    246 words
    Four Winds

  5. It had been a long day. A great day, yes, but long. But as they made their way down the corridor hand in hand, Elizabeth felt her previous weariness fall away from her. By the time they arrived outside of their hotel room, all of Elizabeth’s tiredness had evaporated and had been replaced with excitement and sweet anticipation.
    Releasing her hand, Mike gently caressed her cheek, sending delicious tingles down her spine. Elizabeth’s breath caught in her throat, and she did not know if what startled her was the intensity of her feelings for him, or if it was the look of love she saw shining out of his.
    “Are you ready, Mrs James?” he asked her, his voice husky with desire.
    “Yes, Mr James.” Elizabeth replied, a smile playing on her lips.
    His look of adoration suddenly replaced with a wicked grin, Mike bent down and swept Elizabeth in to his arms, causing a delighted giggle to erupt from her lips.
    Reaching round to remove the key card from his back pocket, Elizabeth opened the door, while Mike used his foot to wedge it open.
    “Thank you for marrying me, Lizzie.” Mike said, before bending his head to kiss her gently on the lips. But Elizabeth did not want gentle. As she wrapped her arms around his neck, she deepened the kiss and was rewarded when she felt him respond.
    And they continued to kiss as Mike began to walk, and they stepped across the threshold as one.

    249 words

  6. “What is this place?” Shia’s whisper seemed loud in the deep silence, green eyes staring in awe.

    “Don’t know,” Ker replied. “Worth exploring though.” His brown eyes sparkled with mischief.

    He moved forward, a slight figure dressed in a dark green tunic, brown leggings and soft brown boots. His feet made no sound on the carpet of pine needles. His companion was even more petite than he was. She was clad in similar clothing, although her arms were bare. Her auburn locks were controlled by a long braid down her back, but his dark hair flowed freely. He moved nimbly forward from the shadow of the forest, then paused, looking back at her impatiently.

    “You coming?” Ker’s tone was slightly challenging, and Shia bristled at it. Glaring at him, she stepped lightly forward into the full moonlight. His crooked grin told her she had acted just as he expected. An exasperated sigh escaped her lips, and she rolled her eyes. Why did she always allow him to get his own way? They moved closer to the enormous dark structure until they were standing in its shadow. It was far taller than any building either elf had ever seen.

    Spying a door, Ker grabbed Shia’s hand and pulled her toward it. She broke free just as they reached the opening, sensing a great evil emanating from within the building, but he grabbed her hand again and together they stepped across the threshold.

    241 words

  7. “I’m scared.”
    “Don’t be scared, I’m here with you.”
    “Will you stay with me?”
    “Yes I won’t let you do this alone.”
    “Do I have to do this?”
    “Yes, all you have to do is take the first step.”
    “But it’s so daunting.”
    “Daunting huh?”
    “They all look so glad to be there. Will I be happy?”
    “I think you will.”
    “I don’t think I want to go there.”
    “You really don’t have a choice. You have to grow.”
    “I am growing, that doesn’t make any sense.”
    “It’s personal growth like when you learn something.”
    They stepped across the threshold. Cassandra smiled at Hecabe then joined the others.
    “I’m Angela Martinez. I thought she’d never come in.”
    “Hecabe Giannopoulos, yes Cassandra is a handful.”
    “My Samuel, is there.” Angela replies.
    “That’s a Tyrannosaurus Rex which means tyrant lizard.” They heard Cassandra tell Samuel.
    “How old is she? Should she be somewhere more stimulating?” Angela enquired.
    “She deserves to be a child, just a little longer.” Hecabe answered.
    “Mommy can I go now?” asked Cassandra bored.
    “No you need to stay in the kindergarten room.”
    “The kids don’t know anything.”
    “They know things you don’t know like how to play with other kids.”
    “Fine I’ll learn.”
    “Good your father will be happy.”
    “I see.” Cassandra answered.
    “There are other things to learn besides foretelling the future, which is why your father Priam thought you should go to school.”Hecabe stated.
    “I see only bad things ahead in this.” Cassandra quipped.

    1. this is tongue in cheek. Cassandra was the daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy and had the gift of prophecy usually foretelling tragedy.

  8. Crossing the Line
    By Wakefield Mahon

    Dakota and Sidney grew up in Centerville. Their school was large enough that they didn't meet until their senior year of high school. When Dakota first laid eyes on Sidney, it was the proverbial love at first sight. Dakota's friend Pat introduced the two and Sidney fell in love with the first words Dakota spoke.
    Their initial joy was, however, short-lived.
    Dakota's father's eyes blazed with fire. "It's an abomination. You are such an attractive teenager. Of all the people in school, you had to pick that one? Can you imagine what people will say? I forbid it!"
    Sidney's mother was a bit more sympathetic, but hardly more supportive. "You know I love you Sidney, but a relationship like that is a bad idea. I thought about it when I was young and foolish until I saw how people treated that kind of couple. Please find someone else."
    Disregarding their parents, Dakota went on a date. The few disapproving looks at the theater, paled in comparison to the scowls when they affectionately held hands at dinner.
    Sidney was the first to admit what they were both thinking. "Dakota, I really like you, but I don't think this is going to work."
    Sidney committed suicide after eight years in a loveless marriage. Dakota never married, spending life doting over what might have been.
    They stepped across the threshold of pain then sprinted back, unwilling to bear the discomfort, unable to discover the joy or wonder that lay on the other side.

    250 words

    1. Rebekah PostupakJune 7, 2012 at 5:48 PM

      This last line blew me away. Wow.

  9. People think about strange things, down in the dark, pulsing with life not their own. The bulk of the planet had been assimilated into a single massive organism. Delving this deep was akin to climbing into its mouth and deliberately advancing through the digestive tract. Demons invisible in the darkness and powerful beyond belief were the enzymes all but assured to break them down into nutrients for the foul life form.

    This was suicide.

    Three of them made an unexpected, strangely effective, team. Dark Jim was a megalomaniacal sharp-shooter, determined to exterminate this evil only because he couldn’t stand competition. Donodai was the life-hating android who hadn’t turned on them yet because he still needed their help to kill all the demons—just more squishies to him. Then there was Betty, the sorceress. She couldn’t argue that her companions weren’t evil, but inadvertently or not Dark Jim had saved her life. She wouldn’t be here now if it weren’t for him.

    As far as she was concerned her life belonged to him. Besides, someone had to stop this thing from destroying the planet. No other teams had made it even a fraction of this distance into the Wicked God. It was too late to turn back now.

    They reached the next barrier and Betty could see none of them had the strength to survive another wave. Her companions knew it as well. Pride would push the other two on, and love compelled Betty to follow.

    They stepped across the threshold.

    250 words

  10. They stepped across the threshold, but it didn’t feel right inside. Carl let Angie drop slowly from his arms, until they both stood staring into the lounge.

    “What do you see?” He asked.

    “Nothing…yet.” She replied.

    “Do you think it’s just us being over cautious?”

    “Nope, something is definitely up.”

    Angie lifted the hem of her dress and pulled the knife out of its holder at the top of her thigh. Carl had already pulled his out from the back of his waistband. They knew guns would be ineffective on these particular intruders.

    Things had been subtly disturbed; ornaments out of place; pictures crooked - they weren’t imagining things.

    They covered the rooms until they were moving back to back down the corridor to the conservatory. They froze as they heard a rustle. Angie grabbed the large mirror off the wall as they passed.

    Once sighted they all scattered. One turned and hissed at them, jumping up and alighting upside-down on the glass ceiling; letting its long thin tongue roll down to taunt them – Carl sliced it off, causing shrieks.

    If they couldn’t reach their necks, the mirror was their only chance, so Angie turned it towards them. Once they were caught in the reflection, their screams heightened as they were sucked in. Then together they raised it over their heads, throwing it as hard as they could; shattering it across the floor.

    “Constantine was right; it does banish them.”

    “Thankfully - the little devils!”

    This made them both laugh.

    250 words

  11. Title: The Final Countdown

    They raced towards the town hall, the wind whipping along at their feet and blowing debris into their faces. Alana and David didn’t know what to expect once they got there, only that it would be the final confrontation. They had prepared all they could for this moment, now it was time to see if it was enough.

    Before they stepped across the threshold that was littered with broken glass, David grabbed Alana’s hand and pulled her gently towards him.

    “No matter what happens, you know I love you, right?”

    Alana’s face softened and she cupped his face with her free hand. “I know. Let’s get this over with, okay? Before the destroyers decimate any more of the town?”

    She squeezed his hand before letting go and carefully stepping over the bits of glass and wood strewn across the ground.

    As soon as they were in the building, it was like they were in another world. Noise from the outside disappeared and the overwhelming silence was deafening. The overhead florescent lights were out and only the backup emergency lights were glowing. The shadows managed to hide most of the damage but it was apparent even under the low light that someone or something had already been there ... and was waiting for them.

    213 Words

  12. "The Sacrifice"

    Tears flowed freely down my face. Even after all these years, the memory of their sacrifice still burns.

    It’s everywhere. In the sight of a couple holding hands in the park, a child playing with their friends, a mother gushing over a newborn. I can’t escape it; this hope for the future.

    A future that exists because of them.

    A future I don’t want.

    The fighting was terrible. The demon spawn threw everything at us, but somehow we endured. After weeks of siege, starvation, disease, and death, stalked the streets of the city, but our resolve was weakening. The end was fast approaching.

    That’s when they came, Nobles on bended knee. Ignorant men who refused to listen to their warnings. They scoffed, and called them witches, deriding their so-called superstitious claims. Thousands of lives might have been spared had those self-important bastards opened the ancient ritual chamber back then.

    Gilded words spilled from honeyed tongues, promising riches beyond imagining if they would act to save the city. As if the city was truly what these worms sought to protect.

    My wife and daughter saw through their lies, but said yes anyway. The ritual was our only hope, but after all this death, the Spirit would exact a price.

    The portal opened.

    They stood there, bathed in spirit light, wearing an expression of serene calm. I could feel their love wash over me. With a final look at me, they stepped across the threshold to save us, and damn me forever.

    250 Words

  13. They stepped across the threshold not knowing what to expect. The gloom of their world was all they knew; never before had they seen pure unfiltered light in the sky. The air was intoxicating. They looked around them, fingers intertwined, with awe. Had anyone told them of this, they would not have believed. They walked along a babbling brook. Frogs jumped, birds chirped and fluttered around them. They splashed water on their faces and drank in the crystalline coolness.

    “We should go back and bring our families,” he said and she smiled in agreement.

    The sun began to fall on the horizon as they returned to the door. It was shut to them without a knob to open it. They banged on its surface and called out.

    “No one hears you,” a confident voice said behind them. They stopped and looked behind them at the luminescent figure. “If you really wish to return, I will open the door for you but you will not be allowed back here.”

    They studied the figure and exchanged glances between one and other.

    “You can start over here in this fresh new world. It is yours to create a history, knowing the failings of that world’s past. What do you say?”

    They showed their agreement by approaching the figure.

    “This is all yours, you just have to take care of it and not let it turn bad. What are your names?”

    “I’m Adam and she’s Eve.”

    “What do we call you?” Eve asked.


    250 Words

  14. I’d learned to set wards early on in my training. Hanging out by myself in the high rise, without my backup of supernatural badassary, setting some wards seemed a very practical idea. After wishing only for a few moments alone last night, I missed having a lycan and a sceadugenga as my personal guard.

    The simplest method of warding acted as a psychic intruder alarm. The spectral color of anything that crossed the barriers I made flashed right inside my brain. The green energy of humans was good. Anything else, I prepared to shoot first and ask questions later.

    I dug through kitchen cabinets for salt and ran to the elevator. I drew a thin line across the outside of the sliding doors, whispering the incantation to set the ward. The salt sank into the floor, invisible to the eye and untouchable. I retreated to the penthouse door and repeated the process before closing and bolting the door.

    Alone in the penthouse, a prickling paranoia settled over me.

    I didn’t normally mind the state, but alone felt abruptly lonely.

    Weak. Vulnerable.

    Something pushed against the ward I’d placed at the elevator.

    “Shit,” I breathed. “That didn’t take long.”

    They stepped across the threshold in waves of jagged black energy.

    I retreated through the penthouse until my back pressed against the cold, thick glass separating me from the pavement thirty stories down. The glass at my back shivered even as the front door trembled.

    “Oh shit, oh shit, I’m in trouble.”

    250 words

  15. Rebekah PostupakJune 7, 2012 at 8:00 PM

    They watched the builders with the glowing eyes of lovers who could not see wrong.

    When the contractors presented stacks of papers for signature with estimates impossibly high, they giggled and signed, she with hearts, he with a flourish, their freshly polished gold bands shining in unison.

    When labor strikes or shipping problems or fixture shortages howled in their faces, they sang back merrily, adding an extra rousing chorus for good measure.

    The contractors shook their heads. “It’ll never last.”

    But the lipstick stain on his collar—who kisses a *collar,* for heaven’s sake??—could not be sung away. Hammers fell silent as the giggles and promises were hijacked by tears and pleas.

    They survived the hijacking, but barely. Their gold bands now glinted only dully. Still, they glinted, and that was something.

    On move-in day they stood at the doorway, staring into the darkness of the entryway.

    “We know the foundation’s good,” he said.

    “Yes,” she agreed. “Not so sure about the frame. See the cracks?”

    “Does it matter? The foundation’s good.”

    The tiniest melody of a smile whispered at her lips. “It’s good.”

    They stepped across the threshold.

    The subsequent symphony shook the rafters, but the frame held.

    200 words

  16. #ThursThreads is now CLOSED. Thank you to everyone who wrote and we hope to see you next week! :)


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