Thursday, March 21, 2013

#ThursThreads - The Challenge That Ties Tales Together - Week 63

Welcome back to the Weird, the Wild, & the Wicked, and #ThursThreads, the Challenge that Ties Tales Together. Let's get started. It's Thursday again, so what should you be doing? Writing #flashfiction, that's what! Welcome to Week 63 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 as written 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 63:

Monster movie lover, fry cook, and Daily Picspiration author, Jeff Tsuruoka.

 So now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.

The Prompt:

“Any questions?”

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. “In a few days, you should receive your reporting orders for Officer Candidate School. Upon completing the fourteen weeks, you will graduate with a commission as a second lieutenant. Any questions?” The recruiter smiled as I signed the next four years of my life away.

    “How old are you?”

    “I—excuse me?” The wattage on his PR grin dimmed.

    “What’s your sign?”

    He shuffled through the papers in my file, eyes darting my way in between pages.

    “If you were a superhero, what would your powers be?”

    “Ms. Bryant.” He cleared his throat. “You did pass the initial psychological evaluation, correct?”

    “Can you juggle?”

    “Because candidates don’t get this far if they fail.”

    “Have you ever been in a submarine?”

    “This is not the Navy, ma’am.” A flash of hope brightened his face. “Did you mean to enlist with them? They’re the next office down.”

    “Are you always this weak under pressure?”

    “W—what?” His forehead took on a passing resemblance to a Shar Pei.

    “You did ask if I had any questions.”

    His mouth worked in silence before his brain figured out what to say. “I meant something normal. You know, where you’ll be reporting, what you should bring. Normal.”

    “Ah,” I said. “You shouldn’t leave the door wide open, then.”

    He nodded, a slow up and down motion. “Duly noted.” He seemed to regard me with fresh eyes. “Maybe consider toning the random down. The Army frowns on random.”

    “Let’s see if I last fourteen weeks, then.”

    249 #WIP500 words

  2. “Any questions?”

    The Wolves stared at Mac unblinking.

    “We’ll get him back.” Sean, his easy-going demeanor rock hard now, left no room for doubt.

    A slight movement in the corner of the room drew Mac’s gaze. Hannah. Clearing the clip from her automatic to check the load. She glanced up at him. How could he leave her behind? Liam was her son, too. But she was his mate and allowing her to walk into danger rubbed him raw.

    Her chin rose, defying him.

    I’m going.

    I know. And he did. He couldn’t keep her swathed in bubble wrap no matter how much he wanted to. He remembered when they’d first met. Her grim determination. Her stubborn refusal to tell him how badly she’d been injured. He’d been so pissed at her, not understanding at the time. Now Hannah and their son were the most precious things in his world, followed closely by the Wolves. His brothers in arms.

    The sound of a shell being racked in a shotgun reminded him of the mission. The women were there, standing next to their mates. Jacey held a 20 gauge like she was born to it.

    “We’ll be fine,” she assured the men. “Go get him.”

    Sean, ever the joker, laughed. “Head ’em up, move ’em out, cowboys. We’re on a mission from God.”

    God help the monster who had taken his son, because Ian MacIntire was sending him straight to hell.

    240 words @SilverJames_

  3. Stare downs are always fun; I usually win. But this time, my opponent is a cute little four year old girl whose watery blue eyes tug at my heartstrings. I tried to maintain my stare.
    “Now, do you understand why you’re in trouble?”
    “No,” she whimpered. The first tear spilled over and I almost gave in. “Liza did it!”
    Part two of the stare down: blame your sister. “I’m afraid you did do it, honey. I saw you drawing on the wall in your room. Now, you’re in trouble. You and I are going to wash your wall and then you get no more crayons for the rest of the day.”
    “Nooooooo!” she screamed. The tears finally spilled over, rushing down her cheeks. I hate seeing my daughter cry…and I’m slowly losing the stare down. “Liza did it!”
    I shook my head, finally breaking eye-contact with her. Letting her cry, I gathered what we’d need to clean the wall, then took her by the hand. Naturally, she dropped to the floor, dragging her feet, so I let her sit.
    Finally, I had to get tough. “Priscilla, if you don’t come upstairs and help me clean this up, I’ll take your crayons away for a week. Any questions?”
    I watched as indecision flitted across her face. Finally, she stood up and followed me upstairs. Wiping her face, she accepted a sponge from me and dipped it in the hot, soapy water.
    “I love you, Priscilla.”
    She grunted. “Love you, too, daddy.”

    250 words

  4. Q & A: Post Apocalyptic Version

    Of the many duties The General required, Solomon found Assimilation Operations the most distasteful. In a world of ever-diminishing resources, he saw no point in coddling the old…the infirm…the weak. Still and all, if he wanted to continue to enjoy nourishing food, untainted water and secure shelter, he would do as he was told.

    The convoy began setting up a perimeter as Solomon surveyed the rag-tag settlement with obvious contempt. As he’d expected they were a motley assortment of oldsters, women and children. They were unfitting of inclusion into haven The General was raising from the nuclear ashes. Fighting down his disgust, he climbed atop an APC.

    “The General instructs me to inform you of the conditions under which you will be assimilated into our community of rebirth and reconstruction. Firstly, all will work for the common good or receive no food or water. Secondly, strict obedience and loyalty to the rules are required of all. Finally, all weapons, tech and…well…anything determined to best benefit the common good will be Any questions?”

    Hoping there wouldn’t be anybody this time, Solomon watched the old man emerge from the crowd. There was always one.

    “Well, what if we don’t want to –‘

    Solomon forestalled the query with a well-placed shot between the man’s eyes. As the body crumpled to the ground, he fixed the remaining settlers with a hard gaze. “Okay, any other questions?”

    He knew there wouldn’t be any as his soldiers began a sweep of the area for salvage.

    250 words @klingorengi

  5. Class Dismissed

    Captain Steele stood back from the vid board to survey her notes. The Space Battle of Planet Delta 7 was a tough subject. She knew that the majority of her class were keen to know why she was a large figure in it. All that mattered, was that the battle was won. She turned back to the class continuing the lecture.

    “These notes will be on your final test. Any questions?” Steele looked around sighing at the sea of hands. “Any questions that do not pertain to the rumor that, and I quote 'I won this battle single-handedly , armed with nothing more than my blaster and the love of my life at my side'?"

    Steel grinned as all hands save for one went down. She gestured to the cadet and kept a straight face as his young voice faltered a few times.

    “Captain Steele, ma’am, I am Cadet Beaufort. I have only one question prefaced by a statement. Ma’am. I will graduate from this Academy with honors if it takes me a lifetime. When I do, may I please serve on your ship, The Fairy’s Lot?” Steele settled her shoulders as hushed conversations fell silent. She motioned for the cadet to come forward. As he stood before her, she saluted and shook his hand.

    “You can serve now,” she said. “Report to my First Officer. You got balls, kid. I like that.” She turned away from the shaking cadet to the rest of the students. “Well? Class dismissed!”

    249 words without title
    Theresa Breaux

  6. “Tell me, do you bruise easily?”

    It took her a few moments to fully comprehend his words. “Uh…I’m not sure. I don’t think so.” She was fairly certain she didn’t want to know why he’d ask something like that.

    Richard grabbed a handful of round cheek in each hand and pulled them apart. “I could play with you for hours.” He released her. “I’m sure you don’t mind.”

    Before she could answer, he swirled a teasing digit around her brown eye, scattering her thoughts. He gathered up some of her creamy goodness and stuffed it into the hungry hole. “Have you ever had your ass fucked?”

    Faith recalled Sebastian’s fumbling attempts at anal sex. “No, Sir.”

    “Such a waste. We should fix that. Your little star here.” He pushed more love juice into her backside. “Is just begging to be used until it spasms. Are you aware of that?”

    Her tight hole quivered with sweet pulses of current as he probed her over and over. “Oh, yes,” she murmured.

    “What was that?”

    She cringed. “Err…I mean, no, Sir, I didn’t…or rather, I wasn’t aware of that, Sir.”

    He slid his finger out, laughing softly. “I like a pet with greedy holes.” The chilly tip of a dildo pressed against her compliant pucker, slipping in with relative ease. “You just need a bit of training. We’ll start out with a small butt plug.” Richard pressed the toy deeper, stretching her to accommodate the wider girth at the toy’s base. “Any questions?”

    250 words (on the nose)

  7. “I assure you, nothing has been done to your horse – such creatures are as mythological as humans.” The centaur grabbed her arm and jerked her close. “You will come with me and the Council with decide what manner of creature you are.”

    “No.” Bethany lifted her chin and faced the man down. She’d had enough of overbearing men telling her how things would be. “If I’m the mythological beast here, you can make the effort to be polite. You don’t understand what I am? Fantastic, I feel the same about you. But I can tell you right now that manhandling me and dragging me off to God-knows-where will not win you any points, mister.”

    “You will come with me or you will be hogtied and carried.”

    “Not today.” She reached out and twisted one of his nipples like she’d done to her older brother as kids.

    He yelped and released her. Bethany scrambled out of reach and bolted for the trees. She’d never outrun him, but she bet dollars to doughnuts they couldn’t climb. She dodged the bigger bodies, and shot for the nearest Maple looking trunk. Leaping for the lowest branch, she prayed her grip would hold and no one caught her ankles.

    She’d hit the second set of branches when an angry squeal made her turn and her gaze fixed on the wicked barb of a notched arrow.

    “You will get down now. Or I will shoot you down. Any questions?”

    Bethany swallowed bile. “Not at the moment, no.”

    250 ineligible #WIP500 words

  8. And then and there we were and weren’t, a mix of was and is. Obliterated ingratiated anything but satiated a wild bunch of never do wells doing well. The boat had left a harbor the plane had left a field, the corn had been planted in this world all for me to yield. For despite the booze and drugs, the bodies wrapped in rugs we perceiver, the sons and daughters of greatness, pardon the maturities lateness. For we tip our glass to those who sweat, and tip our hats to past regret for fortunes built and fortunes yet. I lost my place but pardon me, a lucky apple on a family tree, whose father fathered a sap like me. Harvard Harvard teaches no empathy. Yale’s sins are not for me. Board rooms and banquets no energy, I wish to sail a deep blue sea, not polluted by relatives of me. I know just know it all can be?

    Any questions dear mother and father?

    “Have you looked into poetry?” said sweet mum.

    “No it’s a waste of life.” I took my check and now am gone.

    192 words

  9. Waiting

    Abandoned for quite some time, Cliff House waited patiently. Built directly on the side of Old Stone Mountain, it was an imposing structure, even after all this time. Several stories tall, with myriad windows looking out onto the surrounding mountains and down into the valley below, it was definitely a sight that didn’t go unnoticed. They followed the porch around to the side, and she gasped with delight at the stone steps that were carved into the rock wall itself. They led downward, into the mist-shrouded valley. Trees grew at lopsided angles, their seeds dropped into cracks in the mountain by various raptors or rainwater, grimly holding on for dear life.

    “It’s amazing…” she said reverently, moving to the top step and looking down into the treetops far below.

    “If you like this sort of thing, I suppose…” He sounded disparaging.

    “Is that a river down there? Your eyes are better than mine, please look?”

    He sighed heavily, but obliged her, joining her on the step. He peered downward, trying to make out any details in the fog.

    “I really can’t…” he started to turn back to her, and his foot slipped on the wet moss covering the steps. Frantically, he windmilled his arms, grabbing for her, but she moved out of reach. Screaming, he plummeted downward. She watched for a moment, impassively, then tilted her head.

    “You won’t hurt me any more. Any questions?” The only answer was an echo from the valley below.

    The house watched, waiting.

    250 words {with title}

  10. Sacrifice

    “…and they’re not to ask any questions? None?”

    “None. They wanted information, so I’m going to give it to them. But the first one to ask a question gets be charged with treason. You make it very clear to them this isn’t about the public’s right to know. This is about making sure that the three-hundred million souls currently inhabiting this country are still breathing in twenty-four hours.”

    “I’ll see to it.” The Press Secretary peeled off from the group and nearly sprinted down a side hallway. I didn’t envy him his job. Then again, none of us had easy jobs these days. Funny how a few space craft arriving in near-earth orbit changed things.

    “Travis, walk with me.” Oh joy, my turn to have some face time with our Commander-in-Chief. The others slowed, giving us a few feet of space. An illusion of privacy, but appreciated nonetheless.

    “Yes, sir?”


    “Nothing worked. We tried everything we could think of including a small nuke. Didn’t even mark the paint job.”

    “Jesus. You’re telling me there’s no other choice?”

    There it was, the question I’d been dreading. I took my time answering it, savoring my last seconds before I damned my soul to hell. “We’re going to have to comply with their demands, sir. Sacrifice a few to save millions.”

    “No.” He shook his head and I felt the first glimmer of hope I’d had in days. “If that’s the price for our continued existence, I won’t pay it.”

    248 words

  11. Passion of Paris:

    The captain’s voice cajoled Hillary awake as she stretched in her first class seat. Normally she’d be excited to get off the transatlantic flight, however the nervous tattoo of her heart was a reminder of her first trip alone. Taking a deep breath, she gathered her make-up bag and headed to the lavatory to freshen up. Stepping off the plane symbolized her new life and she refused to do it without fresh lipstick and running a brush through her hair.

    Another stamp in her already full passport later, she spotted her name on a board held by one of the many drivers waiting for their passengers. She offered a warm smile to the uniformed chauffeur.

    “Mademoiselle McLane? Welcome to Paris. Je m’appelle Philippe. I trust your flight was well?”

    “Oui, very well. Merci.”

    Hillary poured herself a glass of champagne in the well stocked limousine as Philippe took the scenic route along the Seine River. Hillary nibbled the fingernail of her index finger as the limousine came to a stop and Hillary stepped onto the sidewalk. She swallowed hard at the sight of a vacant storefront in the shadows of the Eiffel Tower. Buying the place online was impetuous, however her vision of an adult toy store to rival New York’s Pink Pussy Cat finally came to life.

    He placed Hillary’s suitcase on the sidewalk and rattled off a few neighborhood hotels and restaurants while Hillary stared at the building.

    “Avez-vous des questions?”

    “Sorry, what?”

    “Any questions?”

    249 WIP words

  12. Emmy, Age 5, Helps Cook Supper

    “Mommy, why did you do that?”

    “Do what, sweetie?”

    “Why did you cut that green vegetable up?”

    “It’s a pepper. It’s for the stir-fry.”

    “Why does it go in the stir-fry?”

    “Because it tastes good.”

    “Why does it taste good?”

    “Because peppers are tasty.”

    “Why are they tasty?”

    “They’re good for you. Things that are good for you are tasty.”



    “What are you doing now?”

    “I’m cutting up an onion.”

    “Why do you have to cut it up?”

    “Because otherwise it won’t cook at the same rate as everything else.”

    “What’s ‘rate’?”

    “It means ‘speed.’ Everything needs to cook at the same speed.”


    “So it’ll taste right.”

    “What happens if it doesn’t taste right?”

    “You won’t eat it.”

    “Why won’t I eat it?”

    “Do you like things that taste bad?”


    “Okay, there you go.”

    Thoughtful pause. “Mommy?”

    “Yes, sweetie?”

    “What are you doing now?”

    “I’m cutting up chicken.”


    “To put in the stir-fry.”

    “Is it a real chicken?”

    “Yes, it’s a real chicken.”

    “Why does it want us to eat it?”

    “It probably didn’t.”

    “Why are we eating it then?”

    “Because that’s what chicken is for.”

    “Is it sad?”

    “It’s dead, sweetie. It doesn’t have feelings.”


    “YES, sweetie?”

    “How did the chicken die?”

    “Emmy, why don’t you go draw a picture for Grandpa before supper?”

    She scurries off. Whew.

    Laughter from the dining room: my husband. Dirty look time.

    “Well, you asked for it. Who asks a five-year-old ‘any questions?’”

    246 words, not including title
    Meredith Smith-Lane


    “Any questions?” Matilda chirped, rocking from heel to toe with barely contained exuberance.

    Aidan frowned, pinching his lower lip as he thought. He knew why the pigtailed purveyor was in such high spirits, and was actually impressed she wasn’t turning cartwheels in his grand hall. He’d never had any trouble coming by what he needed before, but blindly he’d allowed things to get out of hand with that mad woman in the slums. There just wasn’t enough to satisfy both their appetites, and that meant Matilda could mark her inventory up as much as she wanted and be assured that if Aidan didn’t buy Caroline would.

    “They’re dirty,” Aidan broke the silence.

    Matilda cut him off, “Been on the road. They wash just fine though.”

    Finally the pale lord sighed, “They’re just not worth five hundred a head!”

    “Okay,” The tanned saleswoman shrugged merrily.

    “Please, lord!”

    Aidan scowled and even Matilda frowned. One of the slaves was reaching out of the cage.

    “Please don’t let us go to the alchemist! She’s a monster!”

    “Shut up!” Aidan snarled, fangs bared as he kicked the cage.

    Quickly Matilda recovered the cage with its thick velvet cloth.

    “So sorry about that!”

    She bowed deeply before wheeling the magically silenced commodities back toward the double oaken doors.

    “Three hundred.”

    Matilda stopped.


    “I’ll give you three hundred a head.”

    The purveyor’s face split into a razor toothed grin.

    “You? Lord Aidan Whitaker? You’re haggling?”

    The nobleman massaged his aching temples wearily.


    248 words

  14. His stark naked body rested on the warehouse floor, his blood no longer in it. His blood was slowly seeping into the concrete. It would leave a bitch of a stain to remove. She’d probably stabbed him thirty times. The knife stuck out of his body where it had been sunk between his legs. That would have hurt, except he was probably already dead.

    She sat on the warehouse floor, maybe ten feet away, not a stitch on. Her knees tucked up to her chin. Dried tears all over her face. She sat there, rocking back and forth, mumbling, “He wouldn’t stop. I asked him to stop. I said no. I did. He wouldn’t stop.” What was obviously his blood was all over her.

    There was no doubt she’d killed him.

    Next to her was a manilla envelope with beg red letters on the outside that said, “Any Questions?”

    The envelope was full of pictures of him, pushing her around, touching her, stripping her. Of him pushing her up against crates, shelves, the wall, even the floor. And doing anything he wanted.

    I took off my coat, put it around her shoulders, and made sure she heard me. “He got what he deserved.” Then I called for a lady doc to come help her, knowing the legal system in the country would soon make her life hell, and some lawyer rich.

    Life sure can be a bitch sometimes, can’t it?

    245 Words

  15. The murmur of voices kept going and Nora turned her head around, trying to see if the circle went around. She should have just stayed away from the clubs and strange men who drug drinks. The ropes chafed against her wrists and the skin felt raw.

    The air shimmered along the blood that lay caked on the floor. There were some gasps but the majority of the chanting continued until she could see what looked like hooves appearing, up to calves and thighs that were fuzzed. A thick black tail whipped back and forth. Maybe it was the blood that rushed to her head from being upside down for so long but it reminded her of a cat.

    A very irritated cat.

    Most of the chanting broke off while the group looked at the creature in their midst.

    “You know, I really want to be left alone. How stupid are you humans? I mean really, you do not want to mess with what I can do.”

    The whipping tail kept going back and forth, the sharp tip on the end looking like it could do some serious damage.

    “You are ours to command, Irocsytle. You will follow what we tell you to.” Collin stood up, pushing his hood back. He picked up a knife by his side and turned towards Nora. He took two steps before stopping as the tail was shoved into his chest.

    “You will listen to me. Not the other way around. Any questions?” Irocsytle grinned.

    250 words

  16. The headboard shaking, in the tiny apartment that seemed to sit right atop the “L”, wasn’t from the train rattling across the tracks in the room that night. With every clink and rattle of the metal tapping against the deteriorating plastered wall, I was bound further to his body. The humid summer night only added to the heat we produced between our lust-filled bodies in the decadent darkness. Our actions were admittedly immoral but only by prudish social confines and academia standards, dictated by the university.

    “What’ll it be?” The roguish bartender inquired.

    “Glenfiddich, neat,” I elicited an automatic response. I hated scotch. It burned, reminding me of him. Exactly what I craved, I sat and drank and let the burn coat my throat, numbing my mind and body completely.

    The heat and sweat mingled with the echoed rattling and clanging almost suffocating us inside the nearly dilapidated room. By the time the “L” came vibrating down the line, I was literally coming undone beneath his knowing, forceful thrust. No thoughts of wrong or right existed between us, only raw desires unleashed.

    He was so sure, and I was so naive, too stupid to see all the obvious implications of deceit that existed back then. Coming back was a mistake.

    “You drinking to remember, or to forget?”

    “Neither. Both,” I breathed.

    The bartender chuckled and set a menu before me, “You should eat,” punctuating his words with a wink. “Any questions?”

    “You have a special?”

    He grinned. “Oh, yeah.”

    250 words


  17. Justice
    By Lisa McCourt Hollar

    She felt his arms around her and shivered. Her stomach fluttered as his hands closed around hers, positioning her fingers around the cold instrument.

    “Never point it unless you intend to use it. Aim… like this.” He guided her hand up, aiming the gun at the target that was in front of them. “The safety is here. Cock the hammer. Pull the trigger.”

    Tanya squeezed and felt the kickback reverberate through her arms. He held her steady and showed her how to balance her stance so that it would be easier. She breathed in his scent. She had longed for her best friend’s brother for a long time now. She and Amy had once joked that they could be sister-in-laws if Jacob would only notice her. He never did and now it was too late. Amy was dead, the victim of a rapist that had been terrorizing the city and Jacob’s arms around her didn’t bring the comfort she had once thought.

    After an hour he declared that she would at least be able to defend herself without shooting out an eye.

    “Any questions?” He asked.

    She had lots, but none that would provide a suitable answer. She had been there when Amy was attacked. No one knew because she had hid, watching… too afraid to move. But she’d seen his face. She knew who Amy’s killer was.

    She cocked the hammer and put the gun to his head. Then she pulled the trigger.

    Word Count: 244

  18. The commercial construction company didn't seem very interested in the voice of the people. Many had voiced objections to the new factory they intended to build, for which they would have to level a large part of the woodlands. Unfortunately, nobody had been able to make enough of an impression to get the company to stop.

    I crashed their board meeting to make one last attempt at changing their minds.

    "You can't knock down that forest land," I pleaded. It's home to many wolves and other animals whose habitats are vanishing. There's already an abandoned factory just a few miles away. You could rebuild that."

    Of course, they took me to be just another environmental nut case.

    "And you are...?"

    Before saying anything else, I let them SEE who I was, as my face elongated, my tail appeared and my fur covered me in all its glory. Then I transformed back into the man who had been trying to reason with them.

    "Any questions?" I asked.

    There were none.

    169 words

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


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