Thursday, September 20, 2012

#ThursThreads - The Challenge That Ties Tales Together - Week 39


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 39 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 39:

The original come-back kid, romantic suspense writer, and character slave, Sarah Aisling.

And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.

The Prompt:

“All around him mindless souls wandered.”

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. All around him mindless souls wandered. Dark souls, lost souls, restless souls, they all wandered. He wandered among them, searching for a home, somewhere to sleep forever. He wanted his soul to rest.

    Jimmy Hannover had no one. He’d run away from home at sixteen and his money got him as far as Omaha, Nebraska. He’d met a lot of people in Omaha, but no one he could call a friend for life. If he didn’t have money or drugs, he wasn’t their friend. He used a different name for every person he met; no one knew who he really was.

    Now, sitting in his favorite old hang out, where the bartender let him drink underage, he sighed, slamming back another shot of Jack Daniels. He had to meet someone in half an hour; someone who could put his soul to rest forever.

    “Thanks Bob,” he said, with five minutes to go. He stood, wobbling out the door. His savior wasn’t there yet, but he’d come.

    Without warning, someone grabbed him and punched him. As the blows landed against his face, as his attacker started ripping his clothes off, he closed his eyes, hoping to rest his soul forever.

    199 words

  2. Padraig sought a goddess who was missing. Entering a cave torch in hand he ventured forward in pitch blackness. He heard odd sounds he in the distance he just couldn’t identify. Feeling his way slowly he realized there was a gaping hole ahead. Something told him in this gaping hole, he would find the goddess. She must be trapped there.
    Padraig threw down rope and climbed into the pit and drew back in surprise. All around him mindless souls wandered in cold and snow. How could it snow in a cave? Souls in torment with great gnashing of teeth, moans and cries that seemed to echo inside him.
    “Caileach Bheur?” he called.
    “I am Caileach, would you kill me now?”
    “I have come to rescue you.”
    “You rescue me from this living hell that Blodewedd, Brigit and Ostara have thrown me?”
    “It was not they who did this to you. It was Cally Berry.”
    “Why has she done this to me?”
    “Cally has been punished. Spring will not come until May.”
    “So I am free to cure diseases and bring forth winter?”
    “You are.”
    “Lead me out of this pit so I may take pity on those here and help them out.”
    “But you are winter. You have no pity. ”
    “You are wrong. I bring cold winds that cool the earth so it can regenerate and bring forth the hope of spring.”
    With that she helped free all the people trapped there and winter was reborn.
    247 words

  3. Man vs Machine
    By Wakefield Mahon

    The machines had taken over. All around him mindless souls wandered. Once brilliant minds fully absorbed in pseudo-entertainment. It’d be months, perhaps years, since anyone opened book. He tried preaching, but his words fell on deaf ears. He tried to engage the devices, but he felt himself drawn in and quickly backed away.
    Grandpa, who came from a time before the machines, stood alone with a secret weapon and a decision. He knew a thing or two about gadgets, but could he really take such a drastic measure? Would everyone turn on him? He took a deep breath and pressed the button.
    “Aw man, my iPod’s broken!”
    “Mom, something’s wrong with the game system!”
    “Just a moment children, my computer is acting up.”
    Grandpa cleared his throat.
    “Dad? Did you …”
    The worry wrinkles faded as a grin erupted across Grandpa’s face. “Don’t worry darlin’ it’s a carefully calibrated low-impact EMP, your toys will straighten themselves in a few hours or so. How about we sit down to dinner at the table together? Then we’ll play some music and read a story afterward.”

    183 words

  4. Love Never Dies

    The dream was always the same. All around him, mindless souls wandered, while he searched for Tyriel frantically. He always felt she was just out of reach, but could never find her. He would call her name, and think he heard her voice faintly ahead of him, but would round another corner to find no one there. He would awaken, with tears streaming down his cheeks, her name on his lips. This had gone on for far too long. He had tried talking to a psychiatrist about it, but it hadn’t helped. Nothing did. He simply couldn’t come to terms with the fact she was gone.

    That night, he went to bed dreading sleep as usual. He tossed and turned for hours, dropping into a fitful doze at last. The dream rushed him, leaving him breathless as he called her. He woke up, tears hot on his cheeks, to hear a noise downstairs. His heart pounded wildly as he struggled to free himself from the tangled sheets, stumbled from the room, almost falling down the stairs in his haste to see what he was hearing.

    Someone was in the den at the back of the house, treading lightly, but he could hear things being moved. He crept towards the open doorway, peering around the frame. Her back was to him, her auburn hair falling loose down her back.


    She turned to face him, smiling coldly.

    “Love never dies, didn’t you know that?” Her pallid hands encircled his throat tightly.

    250 words {without title}



    Mitchell stumbled over the open terrain, diving for cover as soon as he could. The Boss had sent him on this operation and he wasn't going to fail her. It was his first time solo. He knew he could end up lost, seduced by the siren songs all around him or even with his brains fried out. This was danger. This was the front line but he had to keep his oath.
    Clutching the instructions the Boss had scrawled on a bit of paper for him, he dodged and weaved forward, searching for the healing plant that would make her whole again. Without her, the whole squad would be dead in a couple of days.
    All around him mindless souls wandered, drifting aimlessly in this half-world. An beautiful vampire approached, baring her teeth and holding out enticing offerings to him but he shook his head, refusing to be overwhelmed.
    He saw his goal and shot towards it.
    “Do you have anything for flu, please? My wife is feeling really bad.”
    The supermarket pharmacist smiled at him – she could always spot a man who wasn't used to shopping.

    Word Count 191

  6. All around him mindless souls wandered. It was his first ComiCon but for some reason he thought it should be different. He knew there would be people like him attending; what others might call social misfits. Too intelligent for “normal” conversation; too focused with their next great creation to interact with idle chit-chat. Yes, there were fantastic costumes like he’d expected. A Klingon wedding-party. Ghostrider with real flames. And seventeen Sherlock Holmes. But there was something wrong. Something he couldn’t quite figure out. All these fabulously intelligent people, but their eyes showed no one home. He stepped up to the concession counter to distract himself. And after reading the menu board it dawned on him what was happening. They--all of them--drank the Kool-aid.

    126 words


    He was dead. That had taken a long time for him to accept. At least he thought it’d been a long time. Time was hard to judge here. It might have only been a few days, it may have been years. Death wasn’t what he’d expected either. One minute he’d been driving along the freeway, the next minute he was here. No white light, no friends or loved ones waiting with open arms.

    All around him mindless souls wandered. No angels, no demons, only the souls of the dead, wandering in aimless circles for eternity under an endless grey sky. At this point he’d welcome the Grim Reaper himself. At least the big, boney guy would relieve the monotony. Maybe he’d bring his chess board.

    He spotted a new arrival and waited. They always asked the same questions. Where am I? What happens now?

    “Brad?” The voice was familiar and he made himself look more closely at the old woman standing in front of him.

    “Jessica?” His wife had been young and beautiful when he’d died. Had it really been that long?

    “It is you. You look just the same.” She smiled and in that moment she was transformed back into the young bride he’d left behind.

    He reached out to hug her and the moment they touched his grey world vanished. Colours bloomed, the air sweetened & music filled his ears. He finally understood. He hadn’t finished his journey; he’d been waiting for her. So they could go together.

    250 words

  8. Finding Chloe
    By Lisa McCourt Hollar

    Covered in the blood and gore of the dead, Jason walked down the street, matching the halting strides of those around him. He fought back the bile that rose in his throat as the stench assaulted his nostrils. All around him mindless souls wandered, brushing up against his ragged coat, their dead fingers grazing against his. He did nothing to call their attention to the fact that he was still alive.

    Chloe was out here somewhere. The image of his little girl was embedded in his mind. She had seen her mother from the window and ran out the door, calling to her. He’d tried to stop her, but his feet were too slow. The shock of seeing Zoe had been too much, his legs had turned to jell-o. And then the realization that his daughter was running towards a monster.

    Chloe knew her mistake when she was just within reach of the creature. No longer her mother, the thing had reached for the five year old, hungry, needing to feed. Chloe, agile, had ducked the zombies grasp and ran.

    Struggling against the urge to call out for her, Jason swiped at the intestines he’d painstakingly wrapped around his neck. The sky looked like rain; if the storm broke before he found her, the scent of the dead would be washed off.

    He thought she would be here; her grandparent’s home… before they’d become some zombie’s dinner. A whimper by his feet. Jason bent, looking under the porch.

    Word Count: 149

  9. Chris sat down on the sidewalk, leaning back against the wall of a shop. It was lunch time. People were walking out of the buildings they worked in, heading to places to eat, or shop. He closed his eyes and took a couple of deep breaths, then watched everyone else.

    He noticed how everyone did the same things. They left work, got something to eat, window shopped, and then went back to work. None of them did anything different. They all did the same thing.

    He noticed how people always formed couples or groups. Couples were almost always male and female. But not always. Sometimes it was male and male. Sometimes it was female and female. Like always. No one was alone.

    He noticed how groups acted around each other. He saw the distrust between the groups of white men, and the groups of black men, or black women. He saw groups of men, leering at women. He saw groups of women pointing at men, and laughing at them.

    They all did the same thing every day. No one changed. No one ever questioned anything. All around him mindless souls wandered. Following some script that told them how things were supposed to be. That absolved them of their responsibilities, and kept them safe from all feelings, risks, and pain. That left the world a cold, gray, lifeless place. Where nothing was real. And nothing mattered. And every day was the same as the day before.

    245 words.

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  11. All around him mindless souls wandered. Walking, talking, bumping, grinding. They paid little heed to anything beyond the pounding beat of the music, packing the dance floor, hoping to make a connection. Maybe they’d meet ‘the one’ or maybe they’d just find someone to take home for the night. Someone to keep the loneliness at bay for a few hours.

    He stood still in this restless human sea, drawing my attention not because he acted differently.

    Because he saw me.

    I caught my breath, a holdover reaction. Humans needed to breathe and I hadn’t been human in a very long time.

    He smiled, lifted his hand in a little wave.

    My hand found my chest, right where my heart used to be, as if to ask, Me?

    His smile grew and I wanted to cross the room. To say hello. He might hear me, too.

    A pair of giggling women staggered through me, trying to hold their drinks steady.

    “Whoa.” One turned, staring but not seeing me. Her gaze lifted to the exposed ceiling high above. “Must be an air vent or something. Felt like walking through a refrigerator.”

    “Who cares?” her friend said. “I’m pretty sure tall, dark, and fuckable will warm us up. C’mon.”

    They teetered along on their ridiculous heels… right to him.


    Silly that it should hurt. Silly to feel anything at all after so long. Dead a century, but my soul lingered, hoping to connect.

    He ignored them and walked toward me.

    And smiled.

    250 words

  12. Tyler was in a library, and a huge one. The walls were white with blinding light streaming through windows. The floors were emerald green marble, so glossy that his reflection was unmistakable. Sofas, chairs, tables, every type of seating scattered the floors, all in the color of black. And then there were the books and the bookshelves that moved and revolved, floated from one shelf to another constantly. He heard a sigh, looked over. A very small woman with a dark brown French braid sat tucked into a chair reading with a steaming cup of…something. She sighed again, closing the book as she wistfully murmured, “And all around him mindless souls wandered.”

    He caught sight of the title: Edgar Allen Poe. “Ma’am?”

    She looked up at him with pale grey eyes, blinked, and then opened her mouth to let out a surprised, “Oh!” She hopped up. “You’re…not supposed to be here!” She put her hands up as if to block his view. “You can’t see any of this.”

    He took her hands, gently pulled them away from his face as he looked around. “And…and what is…this?”

    “The Afterlife, you’re in the Afterlife. B-but you’re human, solid. How did you get here?!”

    “This isn’t the afterlife, it’s a library.”

    “Well…well what is the human soul if not a book? A wealth of information?” She glanced around nervously. “Oh, the Big Guy is gonna be so miffed at me!”


    “Me,” a deep voice sounded.

    She turned, frowned. “Oh, I am toast.”

    250 Words

  13. The next time he saw her was at the mall.

    All around him mindless souls wandered; zombies hunting for bargains instead of brains. In amongst that sea of bodies, he saw her: she was sitting in the middle of the food court, a burger forgotten on the chipped table in front her. Her head was down, hair hiding much of her face, but he still noticed the tears on her cheeks and couldn't help but stop and ask her if she was okay.

    "He dumped me," was all she replied, somehow trusting him though she didn't even know his name.

    100 words

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


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