Thursday, July 12, 2012

#ThursThreads - The Challenge That Ties Tales Together - Week 30

Welcome back to the Weird, the Wild, & the Wicked. It's Thursday again, so what should you be doing? Writing #FlashFiction, that's what! Welcome to Week 30 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 30:

The giggling, torture-loving horror author, Charles W. Jones.
Charles is generously offering an .EPUB copy of Circus Tarot to the winner of #ThursThreads this week, so get ready to write! And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.

The Prompt:

"Tell me I’m not giving my life away for nothing."

All stories written herein are the property (both intellectual and physical) of the authors. Now, away with you, Flash Fiction Fanatics, and show us your #ThursThreads. Good luck! :)


  1. Highland Hopes

    Alaisdair checked to ensure the two long-bladed knives tucked into the tops of his boots were secure in their sheaths. He strapped a belt about his waist from which depended two throwing axes. Lastly, he took the great sword that had been in his family for five generations and slipped his arm through the wide leather baldric. Satisfied the hilt hung at a comfortable position over his left shoulder, he reckoned himself ready to go.

    The boiled leather cap on his head, the studded cuirass and greaves all fit him uncomfortably, but they appeared quite unavoidable. If he were to have any hope of surviving the day, he’d need every advantage he could get.

    His voice seemed unaccountably loud in the confines of the one room. “Well, I’m off then. By all the saints, Dabhaidh, tell me I’m not giving my life away for nothing?” The uncertainty and fear in his voice were quite apparent to the man who’d fostered him all of his life.

    “Now that, laddie, is a fair troublesome task ye have set me. Nothing is, after all, a bit of a hard thing to quantify, eh? Is this land nothing to ye? What of the right to hold your head high like a man? Is that nothing then? ‘Tis not for me to be decidin’ the right of it. Now, begone with ya and worry not so much about the dyin’ ye might do today and more about the livin’ ye have yet to do tomorra.”

    250 Words @klingorengi

  2. Mark had always been a sap. Even at school he used to trail around after me getting himself beaten up so I had to dive in and save him. Then he'd be pathetically grateful and look at me with those big puppy-dog eyes and cry.

    He only joined the military because I did. Sometimes I thought that having him around was like having a half-sized siamese-twin or a rather vocal ghost.

    Vocal? Yes, he never stopped talking and being deaf in one ear meant that he always spoke just that bit too loud, attracting unwanted attention everywhere we went. That was how we'd ended up in this bloody mess, tied back to back to the main pole of a Bedouin tent.

    We'd been lying low in a wadi and Mark piped up “Have they gone yet?” just as the caravan of camels was level with us. Score - hostages zero, Bedouin two.

    So you'll understand why I was pretty pissed off with Mark and why he felt he needed to make it up to me. His broken leg meant he couldn't run and we knew they'd kill the one left behind so when I managed to wriggle free of the ropes he told me to go, leave him.

    “Just -Tell me I’m not giving my life away for nothing," he asked. “Please Dave? Just this once?”

    “No, not for nothing,” I said and kissed him. It was all he'd ever wanted. Then I ran.

    246 words,

  3. Spirit Guide

    It is dark. I hate the dark. I wonder sometimes how I ended up doing what I do. Why is it my job to make sure spirits make it to the other side? I’ve seen and heard them ever since I was about five years old. None of them are ever very pleasant, but some are worse than others. Still, the feeling I get after someone goes through that door is really…indescribable.

    He appears in the room and I close my eyes tightly, shaking my head. Oh, crap. Why did it have to be Connor? I’ve loved him for longer than I can remember. We were always together. He was killed two weeks ago by a drunk driver and it nearly killed me as well. Now, here he is, staring coldly at me with hollow eyes, and I can feel his rage and pain at being ripped from this life too soon.

    “You have to go, Connor,” I say gently. He screams his frustration, chilling me, then looks at me and holds out a hand. I feel his love wash over me, and I know I can go with him if I choose. I realize I am the reason he’s trapped here. I can set him free.

    “Lonely…” he manages to whisper.

    Tentatively, I reach out to him. “Tell me I’m not giving my life away for nothing,” I murmur, but then, my hand is clasped and…we are gone.

    It is dark. I hate the dark. I am alone.

    249 words {without title}

  4. Sweet Child of Mine

    She lay on her back, arms outspread, trembling, as I swabbed her arm with alcohol. “This won’t hurt for long,” I promised, throwing the cotton ball into the trash can and reaching for my kit.

    The woman clutched her husband’s hand and looked at him anxiously, then back at me. “Doctor?”

    “Mmm?” I couldn’t find the last piece of equipment and it was vital to the procedure.

    “Tell me I’m not giving my life away for nothing.”

    I turned around, surprised. “Of course not. Of course it’s not for nothing.”

    “But…” The husband looked at me, his face pale and frightened. “But what if it doesn’t work? How can you be sure?”

    “Because it always works.” I paused. “Look…if it helps, think of it as being like milk. Mother’s milk. A child needs mother’s milk to survive…at least, most children do. Your child just needs…something more.”

    The woman looked terrified, but she took a deep breath and nodded. “All right. I’m ready.”

    I looked at the husband. “Perhaps you would prefer to step outside…”

    But as I had expected, he shook his head. “No. I have to be here for this.”

    “As you wish.”

    I pinioned the woman’s arm to the table, applied a tourniquet, and nodded to the nurse, who laid the child alongside her mother. As I raised my scalpel to slice into the arm, the child grinned, baring long, white fangs in anticipation.

    236 words {without title}

  5. Music wafted up the stairs. Pachabel’s Canon. The warm breeze that carried it was colored with the scent of hibiscus and rain. Rain on her wedding day. Wasn’t that supposed to be good luck, somehow?

    She clutched the bouquet in trembling fingers, wet palms clinging to it instead of the gauzy film of her gown. Her father extended an arm, leading her down to the garden, but then she saw him, and stopped.

    A halo of gold on his locks of onyx, made brighter by the sun. Tanned skin stretched over muscle. Hazel eyes, drenched in pain.

    She always loved those eyes. She wondered if the child growing inside her would bear them, too.

    “Tell me I’m not giving my life away for nothing,” she whispered to her father as he led her away to a different man, who stood waiting at the end of an aisle covered in flowers. A man who could give her a life and a home.

    Her father didn’t answer.

    165 words

  6. "Tell me I’m not giving my life away for nothing." Sam's last words ricocheted inside her head. She couldn't scrub that final image of him from her eyes or from her mind. Despair and fury fought within her. How could he have been so stupid? How could he just leave her here to cope in a world gone crazy? If it hadn't been for Angela she'd have given up there and then.

    The creatures were getting smarter everyday. Jane looked back towards her sleeping daughter; an innocent robbed of her childhood, robbed of hope. They were running out of places to hide.

    She closed her eyes, trying to think, and a stray thought caught and held her attention. Her mind held it gently, giving it time to come clear. Her last paper before the outbreak had been examining cannibalistic customs throughout history, and the belief that eating an enemy captured their spirit and strength. What if the fact that these things were getting smarter was proof? What if it were true?

    She had to protect Angela, and she had to makes Sam's sacrifice worthwhile. Other sacrifices would have to be made, she needed the strength to go on, the strength to win.

    She grinned. From now on zombies weren't the only danger to the living.

    214 words

  7. Ok, here it is. Apologies for its morbid and sad nature - it got in my head and wouldn't go away. It's 250 words, not counting the title. My twitter is @JXilon.

    The Choice

    The doctor’s eyes were the only part of her Mary could see uncovered by surgical garb.

    “I’m sorry. I know it’s not a lot of time, but you need to decide,” she said.

    The doctor sounded sincere, but also distant. Mary wondered if she’d had to say this before. Looking at the young nurse holding the two clipboards Mary could tell he wasn’t as experienced. In fact, he looked like he’d change places with just about anyone who wasn’t her, her husband or the doctor right about then. He looked like he wanted to cry. Crazily, Mary wanted to give him a hug and tell him it’d be ok.

    Just like a mother might.

    Her voice sounded so thick when she heard it and she wasn’t sure she would even get all the words out. “I don’t want to sound terrible doctor. I. I don’t want to be selfish. But, please. Tell me I’m not throwing my life away for nothing. Tell me she’ll have a wonderful life.”

    “I’m sorry Mary. I can’t. I’m not God. Anything could happen tomorrow or the day after or the day after that. I can only promise you she’ll be born today. If, that’s your choice.”

    A tear rolled down Mary’s cheek but she choked back the flow. She had a decision to make.

    “Will Paul get to hold her?”

    “Yes, I can promise you today.”

    “Then that’s not nothing,” Mary said and took the second clipboard to sign her name. “I choose her.”

  8. Fate of the World

    The room was stale and musty, reminding me of my parent’s old basement. There was only one tiny window, smudged with years of caked on dirt. I was attempting to appear calm, but on the inside my pulse was racing, while my mind flitted from one memory to the next in rapid succession.

    “Are you ready?” Gideon asked.

    Looking up into his handsome face, my resolve wavered for a moment. “Tell me I’m not giving my life away for nothing. My sister will live, right?” I pled, looking into eyes of my executioner.

    Pressing down on my shoulders, he instructed me to lie down. “She will, I promise.” A devious smirk flashed across his face.

    My mind relaxed minutely, knowing my sister’s life was worth more than mine. She was the one who was prophesized to save the world. I was just her twin, the one with the matching DNA that could save her life, but other than that, I was inconsequential.

    Gideon strapped my arms to the table and I began to panic. This wasn’t part of the plan.

    “Relax my sweet. It will all be over soon enough.”

    He yanked my neck to the side before taking one languid lick across my artery. Biting down, he began to drink.

    When I awoke sometime later, my sister was standing across from me; her wide grin showcased her brilliant white fangs in the dim light.

    “Welcome to eternal life, sister mine. You didn’t honestly think I could rule without you?”

    250 words

    1. AH! This is awesome. You do know that you need to continue this story now, right? GL!

  9. Sorry about that it kept posting incorrectly.Here's my entry.

    "Tell me I’m not giving my life away for nothing." I pleaded.
    “You must obey.” my mother counselled “A great honor has been bestowed on our family.”
    After a few minutes she left. I tucked two knives into sleeves upon my thighs and strapping two to each of my forearms. When she returned, I was escorted in great ceremony to the monsters cave.
    My eyes struggled to adjust to darkness, in the corner a giant of a man lay snoring. He awoke abruptly threw back his head and began laughing when he saw me.
    “Another virgin sacrificed to the Beast?” he asked.
    “You aren’t a monster.” I commented.
    “Aren’t I?”
    “Let me go. I will travel far away.”
    “Like all the others you expect me to let you go?”
    “Did you think I devoured them as the Beast?”
    “If you didn’t, why are there bones in the corner?”
    “Perceptive little Beauty, aren’t you? I’m going back to my nap don’t attempt to leave.”
    Waiting seconds I went to him. He awoke and grabbed me binding me with rope, than placing me in a corner went back to his pallet to sleep. I managed to slide a knife down my forearm slicing the rope that held me. Pretending sleep I watched his chest rise and fall. At dusk as he turned slowly into a Beast and I stabbed him four times in the heart. There are no more sacrifices. ‘Beauty Slayed the Beast’ is my legendary story.
    250 words

  10. Frank sat down where they told him to. It was in this big chair. Well. It was more of a cross between a chair and a bed. He had to practically climb into the thing. And his feet were up above his waist and hips. He was a bit nervous. He’d never done anything like this before.

    He looked at the big machine next to him. Mostly this off white color. There were these blue nobs on it. A big plastic insert that sat between the nobs. Flexible plastic tubes went all over the place. Sort of like a cross between a small washing machine, some kind of water filter, and a TV set. He had no idea how it worked.

    When the nurse had the machine ready, she handed him a little foam rubber football, and put some kind of disinfectant on his arm. Then she picked up a tube that ended in this 2 inch long needle that reminded Frank of a big nail.

    Frank couldn't help himself. He belted out, "Tell me I’m not giving my life away for nothing."

    She paused, before inserting the needle in his arm. “Honey. You’re donating platelets. You’ll live. And because of you, other people will live too.”

    211 Words.

  11. They sat under their favorite tree and Taylor produced a joint from his jean pocket. He held it out to her. “The Last Supper?”

    They laughed, but Alex took it and held it between her lips while her friend lit it. The first hit was exquisite. “I can believe this is happening, man.” She coughed a little. “So where is your family going? My mom wants to head North. I can’t say it’s the worst idea.” She passed the joint to Taylor. “She’s freaking out. This morning I heard her and my dad arguing. It got bad and I think she wants to stay here. Like that would work out. She said something like, ‘tell me I’m not giving away my life for nothing.’ I don’t know, I don’t think she thinks this is real."

    “Well, it’s hard to believe if you really think about it. We’re headed South. My dad has a boat and plenty of fuel. He wants to find some secluded island or whatever.” Taylor sucked in until his lungs were bursting, held it, and then released the smoke in a loud and forced exhale. “I wish we could just go away together.”

    Alex laughed. “Like we’d make it a day.”

    “No man, we would. We’d survive this thing.” Taylor tapped his head. “I’ve got it all planned out.”

    Alex laughed, but it died in her throat as the sirens went off. She stood, stretched and looked down at her friends. “Zombies… Who would have ever thought?”

    250 Words

  12. A month after Jay and Alanna were married, Jay was deployed to Afghanistan for a year-long deployment. She drove him to the base, kissed him good-bye, and tried not to cry when he joined all the other men in their brown and tan desert cammies. When you married a military man, this was the price you paid. So you had to be strong.

    Days turned to weeks and then months. They emailed and sometimes spoke by instant messenger. The time difference was hell and Jay had to share the computer lab with others.

    For the next three days, however, Jay was incommunicado. He was headed to Kuwait City, and from there, home on leave. Instead of waiting for him to show up on her buddy list, Alanna snuggled into bed to dream of her husband.

    The next morning she was surprised to see Jay’s Senior Chief on her doorstep in his dress blues. Hat in hand, he looked at her and the world slowed to a crawl.

    “I’m sorry, Mrs. Halloway. There’s no easy way to say this...”

    A vague memory stirred in her mind. Jay bending over her bed and brushing her hair away from her face.

    “... your husband’s transport took fire …”

    Whispering to her softly, “No matter happens, Alanna, promise me you’ll be strong.”

    “... no survivors. Mrs. Halloway? Mrs. Halloway? …”

    The world grew fuzzy, but all Alanna could hear was her husband’s final words to her. “Tell me I’m not giving my life away for nothing.”

    250 words

  13. “Tell me I’m not giving my life away for nothing.” Jayden paused looking up into Micha’s red-lined pupils solemnly. This wasn’t her idea of perfect vacation but she didn’t have much of a choice in the matter.
    “I’ll tell you whatever you wish to hear.” Micha took her hand in his. Petting her hand with a soft thumb he proceeded to smile in opposition to his stone set face.
    “Tell me, please.” Her insistence, she could tell, grated on Micha’s patience; his hand twitched trying to hold back the irritation from boiling over. Jayden was thankful, for a moment, at having her angelic powers bottled up; it meant she couldn’t feel his deep seeded anger and pain piercing at her human flesh.
    “Your life isn’t ending only changing.” He led her further into what seemed like an endless desert.
    “How long will I stay here?”
    “Don’t be daft Jayden, this is your new home,” Jayden looked around at the red dirt and the steaming cracks creeping up the rocky walls, “This is the outskirts obviously we won’t be staying here; I plan on giving you the royal treatment.”
    Jayden swallowed feeling the scratch in her throat from the dry air. It made her nervous the more being down here became and felt more real. This wasn’t a dream and the “royal treatment” probably didn’t mean massages and fluffy bunnies.
    “Welcome to Hell, my sweet bird.”
    235 words

  14. “Tell me I’m not giving my life away for nothing.”

    They stood on the edge of the cliff looking out at the sea. It was all churned up; white water crashing over itself, as though in a race to hit the rocks. She felt the same. She had been adrift for so many years now, and finally land had appeared. But she was struggling with what he was asking her to do.

    “Am I nothing?” He looked at her, his deep green eyes framed by his dark furrowed eyebrows. He searched her face, demanding recognition. She couldn’t meet those eyes fully, she could only glance at them and return hers to the sea. But she could still feel his on her, waiting.

    “No, you’re not, but that is out there.” She nodded her head to the sky, and beyond. “I don’t know if I could handle it. The isolation; cut off from everything we’ve ever known, and never being sure able to return.”

    “But who knows what we will find out there? It could be incredible!”

    “It could, I agree, but would we be enough for each other day in day out for the rest of our lives?”

    “But it wouldn’t be just us; eventually we would have our own family.” He squeezed her hand.

    “I think that’s what scares me the most. How would we do that? How would we cater for them out there in just a single spaceship?”

    241 Words

  15. “Don't hang up just listen. They're going to kill me and....what?.. No I don't know, but my body will never be found... they think that.. what? No I didn't do anything. I just saw something and they don't trust me not to te...”

    The 'phone was snatched from Sanjay's hand and a sharp blow from the butt of an ancient gun resounded against the side of his face.

    “Why you talk? Why you don't only say goodbye? I want make this easy for you but same always. You talk too much?

    Sanjay lifted his head and looked into the eyes of his captor.

    “Easy? How can this ever be easy? Can you tell me one thing before you kill me? Tell me I am not giving my life away for nothing?”

    The uniformed Secret Police Officer smirked at Sanjay. “You don't give away. I take. I tell you. You talk too much.”

    156 words - @mrsnazilli

  16. Flickering lights and sparking wires were the only approximation of movement in the once sterile metal hallway. Biting back his breath and urge to adjust his cramped position in the utility duct, Richter instead checked the charge on his blaster. Less than half. Even if he got lucky that would only be just enough to escape the facility. The temperature was already dropping toward unlivable.

    “Agent… ichter… there?” Static buzzed in Richter’s ear.
    Wincing he adjusted his earpiece, “About time someone came through! What the hell happened? The whole base is crawling with hostile droids!”

    “How many… have left?”

    Richter frowned, “As far as I can tell I’m the only survivor. Instructions?”

    The last word nearly choked Richter on the way out. The Company was still scheming. What did they know?

    “…need you to retrieve… prototype… labs.”

    “You want me to go back into the labs?” Richter closed his eyes to wait for the affirmative.

    “…willing to offer… support or compensation you require…”

    Running through the compound layout in his mind Richter glanced back at the charge meter on his blaster.

    “Just tell me I’m not giving my life away for nothing.”

    192 words

  17. Black Rhina

    It was cramped down here, but then again the Blood Angel was built for speed not comfort. Sadly it wasn’t enough to avoid this blasted Thurian man-o-war.

    Captain Rhina never imagined it would end like this. Becalmed for days, until a tiny dot on the horizon grew into a nightmare. Each sweep of its mighty oars brought her doom closer. She knew exactly what lay in store for her, and with no wind to get away she was powerless to avoid her fate.

    Black Rhina they called her, the scourge of the Manning Isles. She and her crew had plundered the Imperial shipping lanes for years, but now it was time to pay the blood price.

    Bessama, goddess of the sea, could be a fickle mistress.
    Rhina had always paid her dues. One chest out of every haul went overboard, and a coin tossed into the sea before each voyage.

    “Why?” Rhina said to no-one in particular. “What have I done to deserve your ire?”

    She’d given the order to abandon ship. A captain, however, went down with their ship. As soon as the last longboat hit the water, Rhina hoisted the colours; the burning skull and crossbones never failed to strike terror in her prey, and went below.

    She waited by the powder keg, a burning torch in hand, and a prayer to Bessama on her lips.

    “Tell me I’m not giving my life away for nothing.”

    The moment the Thurian ship drew alongside, she dropped the flame.

    250 Words

  18. The Chosen of Arballa
    By Wakefield Mahon

    They arrived by cover of darkness, the main army still a day’s journey behind.
    Traygon and the priest of Arballa dismounted and hurried into a deserted ramshackle fort.
    “Awesome, you guys are here. Let’s go and totally kick some Edrin butt!” Apparently, not so deserted.
    “No sire, “the priest said. “You will remain here in the castle while Traygon rides out to meet the enemy.”
    “Sire? Who’s this kid anyway?”
    “This KID is Prince Bieber, nephew of King Barras and rightful heir to the throne.”
    “And I’m supposed to fight the entire Edrin horde by myself to protect this guy? What happened to I am the Chosen one?”
    “But you ARE the Chosen One my son. It is written in the sacred texts of the Great One, that you will hold the evil horde at bay until our army comes to gather the prince and take him to his ascension.”
    Traygon glanced at the pimpled young prince, helmet loosely canted on a head barely extending from an oversized suit of armor and fell to his knees in prayer. “Not my will, but yours, Arballa, but please, tell me I’m not giving my life away for nothing.”

    196 Words

  19. "Tell me I’m not giving my life away for nothing." She shivered on the pyre, flames long forgotten.

    "It's not death," the dragon said, in fractal syllables that wound their way inside her mind. Memories of scales and winds unraveling like frost across a windowpane, a multitude of voices in its wake.

    "But I won't be me." Clinging to the heat, the pain, for a moment she resisted.

    "Live," came the soft whispering roar of winter, wiping her clean in a rush of self that warped and twisted her into the dragon's whole.

    And their eyes opened and they did.

    100 words
    No twitter, sorry :(

    1. That's fine. Email address so I can let you know if you win anything, Martha?

    2. Martha dot Bechtel at Martha dot net, for lo, I am not very imaginative. ^_~ *grin*

  20. It was the cries of the children that caught his attention. They were screaming and yelling. David jogged over, jumping over the fallen log that separated the woods from the factory homes that looked the same.

    He dodged around a swing set to see a handful of small children yelling at an older boy who might have been fourteen at the most. He was holding up a box out of all the other’s reach and shoving them down when they got too close.

    “Nah-nah. What are you going to do? Tell your mooooommmies?” He smirked.

    “Give them back, give them back!” One little girl gave him a kick in the shin, her face red from crying.

    “Make me, brat.” A smirk that changed to disbelief when she nailed him right in the family jewels. “You little bi-“

    “Stop right now.” David narrowed his eyes. “Give them the box and step away.”

    They all stopped and stared at him, probably thinking about ‘stranger danger’ when he strode over and yanked the box away.

    The kid sneered and reached into his pocket, pulling out a small switch blade knife. “Screw you, dude.”

    “Tell me I’m not giving my life away for nothing.” David sighed bracing himself.

    “JONAH! Get back in here right this minute!” A woman came up and yanked the boy around, marching him by his ear.

    David looked in the box and saw small kittens mewing.

    “Thank you, mister.” The little girl held her hands up for the box.

    249 words

  21. Her Captain strode in and knelt before her, younger than she expected. “Captain, you volunteered?”

    “Aye.” His gaze was steady. A thick scar meandered his cheek like a river.

    “You know the risks.”

    He nodded a single slow beat. “No risk, death is assured.” His smile stole her next breath. She knew him. A forgotten memory flashed through her heart – there and gone – like a wisp in the night.

    “If you know, then why?”

    “Just tell me I’m not giving my life away for nothing, milady.”

    Abashed, she turned with a guilty pang, paler than the gown she wore. “I cannot know for sure.”

    He lunged, grabbing her by the arms and pulling her against him. “Lady, I must… “He stopped. Words had clearly forsaken him as their breath merged upon his beard. His nearness assaulted her composure like waves upon sand.

    “Victory is never certain, Captain. But without you Caldania has no hope.”

    “I care nothing for Caldania. Or her King.”

    ”Then wherefore do you ask?”

    With an anguished moan, he pulled her abruptly to his lips – gentle, then seeking, then claiming. His strong heart thudded against her breast. Her cry of surprise died in her throat as fire from his kiss burned through her façade, answering a question she had held these many years. Her arms twined about his neck in eager disobedience until he pulled away, grim and satisfied.

    “I am content to go, for your sake alone, my love.” He bowed and strode to his doom.

    250 words

    1. Ooooooooooh I liked that one a lot. More please

  22. "Just one thing," he said. "Tell me one thing." The rain slammed sideways, pelted their heads.

    "What?" she asked. "Anything." It was the least she could do. Damon and she had a terrible history. Their love was always hard, always cutting. But he had always come when she needed him. Even if it meant him dying.

    "Just tell me I’m not giving my life away for nothing. That you'll get out of this shit. Black magic is killing you. You can’t always pull yourself back. There’s not always going to be someone to lay their life down for you.”

    The words were knives. But the rain washed away what blood they left. So, Joan swallowed the rising bile and answered. “I’ll stop.”

    “I hope so,” he said. He turned to the swirling vortex.

    The colors would forever stay locked in her mind.

    The swirling black whirlwind teetering on the shining cement. The slash of red from a wound when Damon stepped toward the vortex, arms outstretched as he chanted in a forgotten language. The flutter of his green jacket as he fell to the ground, convulsing, though one arm remained outstretched toward the demon.

    She'd called it. But he would put it away.

    The funnel shivered and began to dissipate. The demon's face flashed in the dying cloud. He grinned, flicked his tongue and disappeared.

    Damon's hand fell to the ground. And Joan was left alone with the rain.


    1. You were so kind about my entry, Jalisa, but I really like yours! :)

  23. In the Hedgerows

    I crept through the dark, maintaining noise and sound discipline.

    “Jiller,” hissed a voice from nowhere.

    I clicked my cricket and waited for a response.

    “Goddamn it, Herb.” Pause. “Flash, okay?”

    “Thunder.” I pointed my pistol at the voice.

    “Where’s your rifle,” asked Freddy Grey, coming into view.

    “I lost it in the jump.”

    “Fly-by boys went too low and fast. Is it just us?”

    “We’re it so far.” We moved forward, but movement ahead stopped us.

    Freddy bristled. “Not here. Not now.”

    A growling figure tore from the brush and went for Freddy. I fired as he and a large canine in German gray rolled around on the wet ground.

    Freddy made a deeper growl before changing into something similar to his attacker.

    Footsteps pulled my attention away. I encountered another “German” closing on me. I fired, hitting it twice in the face. It fell dead and soon became a man my age. My bowels released themselves after that.

    Freddy was on top of the first, stabbing it with his bayonet before collapsing and becoming Freddy again.

    I crept toward them.

    Blood flowed from Freddy’s mouth. I didn’t care who it came from. “C’mere, Herb.”

    “What was that? What are you?”

    “We are… were werewolves. But I’m your friend, Herb.”

    He grasped my hand. “Tell me I’m not giving my life away for nothing.”

    I couldn’t answer. I wished for something poignant to say as he died. There’s nothing poignant in fighting werewolves or Nazis.

    246 words

  24. He eyes the prep tray. “Tell me I’m not giving my life away for nothing.”

    “Of course you’re not. It’s for the betterment of society,” she says with a practiced smile. “Says so at the top of our brochures.”

    “What if I meet someone special later on?”

    “You do understand the procedure, don’t you? We’re just collecting a donation, Mr. Litton, and then you’re free to go about your business.”

    “That’s the part I’m not so comfortable with. I’d like to be more involved in the process.”

    Without a trace of humor, she says, “Trust me, sir. You will be intimately involved from beginning to end.”

    He leans over the counter. “How long have you worked here?”

    “Long enough to know that some participants return empty trays and professional enough not to pass judgment.”

    “Oh, my tray wouldn’t be empty, but I’ve changed my mind. I’d much rather make a personal contribution.”

    She looks up into his hazel eyes. “That’s not how the company works.”

    “Yes, but that’s how I work. I have an IQ of 167 and I’d like to invest it somewhere bright and beautiful and then spend my life looking after that investment, day after day.”

    “You better leave now, Mr. Litton, before I call security?”

    He smiles. “Why call security over a dinner invitation, Miss Cavleri?”

    “Dinner? I don’t understand.”

    “Yes, dinner. We need to cultivate some romantic stories for the day Litton Jr. asks us how mama and daddy met.”

    @bullishink / 245 words

  25. Fat Tony
    by Lisa McCourt Hollar

    “Please tell me I’m not giving my life away for nothing,” the man whispered as they surveyed the men outside of Fat Tony’s Place.

    “You’ll be rewarded,” Marcus said, stepping out of the car.

    "Hey sugar, do you need some company tonight?"

    Marcus shook his head, waving the whore away. The hooker followed his gaze to the young pregnant woman being harassed by Tony's boys.

    "You aint gonna get nowhere with her. She belongs to Fat Tony. But uh....for a twenty bucks, I could help you get over the disappointment."

    "I said, go away," Marcus growled, showing his fangs. The woman stumbled backwards, her hand reaching for the cross she wore around her neck. Her mother had given her the talisman and it was the only thing she had to remind her of happier times. Now, clutching it in her hand, she held it out towards Marcus, attempting to ward him off.

    "Don't worry,” Marcus chuckled, stepping past the prostitute,“ I don't like the taste of syphilis.”
    One of Tony's thugs saw him and turned, revealing the pipe he held in his hand. "This doesn't concern you, so keep walking."

    "But it does concern me."

    "Is this the guy that knocked you up?" The voice came from inside the doorway. A moment later, Fat Tony stepped out. Marcus grinned, baring his teeth. This guy had earned his nickname. This was going to be easier than he first thought. How he loved a meaty Italian.

    Word Count: 244

    1. Don't like the taste of syphilis ... priceless!

  26. The warning chime rang.

    “My love, it’s time for Quietus to begin.”

    “Will it hurt?”

    Eanu hesitated for just a split second. “They say it’s like falling asleep,” he said. “But you won’t have your bad dreams.”

    “What if I get stuck in a nightmare and stay there for Quietus?”

    He pushed a lank blonde lock out of her face. “Elaida, it won’t. I promise.”

    “You can’t promise.” At least she was smiling now. “Nobody knows.”

    “I’ll be in the cryochamber next to yours. I’ll be the first thing you see when you wake.”

    The fading sun slowly slipped behind the plateau.

    She bit her lip, “I guess I should do my civic duty. I know there’s too many of us. It’s time for someone else to be awake.”

    The chimes rang the hour. Everyone else had already began. Silence washed across the desert.

    “Don’t be scared.”

    She slid down into her cryochamber, looked up at him with sad eyes, “See you in three years.”

    He kissed her with a ferocity that startled them both. Just as he was stepping into his own chamber, her voice floated over.

    “Tell me I’m not giving my life away for nothing, Eanu.”
    “You’re not giving it away. Just leaving it for awhile.”
    The cover clicked shut.

    213 words

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


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