Thursday, April 4, 2013

#ThursThreads - The Challenge That Ties Tales Together - Week 65


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 65 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 65:

Cover model and romance author, Scott McKinley.

So now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.

The Prompt:

“Nothing personal, kid.”

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. "Nothing personal."

    "Kid all you want, nothing is much more personal than murder."

    "You know what I mean. It's just business, not pleasure."

    "Even now you try to rationalise it?"

    "What? Am I gonna make it any worse by saying the truth?"

    "Do you think you'll make it any better?"

    "Can it make it any worse?"

    "No. It can't."

    The anchor and heavy chains were well fastened. I pushed him overboard and he sank straight to the muddy bottom of the river. It wasn't long before the telltale bubbles rose to the surface.

    The truth is that business was not a part of this at all. Nobody had called in a hit. He was just getting on my nerves.

    "Nothing personal?" "Business, not pleasure?" My ass!

    126 words

  2. “Nothing personal, kid.”
    “Nothing personal? I didn’t do, what they say I did.”
    “Even if I believed that I could do anything about it.”
    “I thought you cared about me.”
    “The boss tells me what to do, and I do it’s that simple.”
    “So you’d kill me?”
    “With regret I would but if it comes to my life or yours. Mine is more important.”
    “I can’t believe this. Mom always said you were no good and I shouldn’t get mixed up with you.”
    “Maybe you should have listened.”
    “Can you handle this on your own Stevie?”
    “Sure thing boss.”
    The two men stepped outside the club and got into a car.
    “Where can we go?” asked the young man.
    “We go to South America .”
    “So you’re not going to kill me?” the man asked when they entered airport parking and went into the airport.
    “I convinced you? Good then the boss will believe.”
    “I thought I was a goner.”
    “No matter what your mother said, god rest her soul, I would never harm my own son,” the man answered, picking up tickets at a kiosk. “We’re off to Buenos Aires. I bought a place there years ago for my escape.”
    “But I need a passport.”
    “Check my coat pocket.”
    “Wow, you think ahead Dad.”
    “Always stay a step ahead son.”
    The men breathed a sigh of relief , they were on the plane and in the air, off to their new home and away from the Mob boss.
    249 words

  3. In the moments before death, there is clarity—the kind of clarity that living often clouds. An inner sight gains view of your surroundings, including people, and their real intensions.

    As Marci’s life dwindled, her instincts became sharp. The beliefs she had held about people were turned upside down. The friend who had drifted away over the years, but still proclaimed unity, was a betrayer in the end.

    Marci’s keen vision honed in on the fatal act of deception. No excuse would be good enough now—no matter how flippant or sarcastic. The friend had allowed a person determined to hurt Marci and the people she loved to come within reach. A person so filled with hate, it blinded them to reality.

    And now, even now, with only hours to go before nothing would matter, self-preservation drew in its breath. The protection Marci had built between herself, her family, and the intruder had been breached.

    The door to her room opened. Her hand moved under the covers, guarding her last defense.

    “Hello, Marci.”


    “I know you’re mad, but look, I don’t have any reason not to befriend him. He’s done nothing to me.”

    “Nothing personal, kid,” Marci said, her strength fading. “But, I do have a reason.” Her eyes sparkled in the waning light.

    “For what?”

    “For this.”

    A flash of metal sliced through the facade as Marci cut the malevolence from her life. With her last breath, she let go of misguided loyalty, in favor of true love.

    250 Words

  4. “What portals?”

    “The ones in and out of Mächenwood.”

    “Never heard of it.” I turned back to the bars and shook them. With a deflated sigh, I returned to my safe spot against the wall, sunk to my rump, and wrapped my arms around my knees. “I don’t understand anything your saying. Or why it is so damned dark in here.” The last part I shouted at the top of my lungs. My voice echoed off cement and vibrated through my skull.

    “No matter, I’ll find my way back soon enough. They can’t watch all the portals all the time.” His voice held a tone of confidence.

    Curiosity niggled at me. I wondered what he looked like. How old he was. “Why won’t they let you go home? What did you do?”

    “I killed one of them. They don’t take kindly to that.”

    “You killed someone?” I was suddenly glad to have the wall at my back.

    “Thing. Some-thing. They aren’t human, more like entities.”

    My brow furrowed. “You mean like ghosts?”

    “Kind of. They are the essence of humans, but projected. They exist somewhere else. It’s hard to explain.”

    “Yea, I see that. I still don’t get what any of this has to do with me.” I rocked on my bottom as I forced my body to stop shaking. “I told you, I’m nobody.”

    “Nothing personal, kid, but if you aren’t sure why the Dwellers want you, you aren’t looking hard enough."

    243 words

  5. "Nothing personal, kid."
    Trent turned away from Chelsea, his gun strapped against his shoulder. Its barrel pointed upwards at the orange painted sky.
    Chelsea watched him walk away from her. She ran to him and angrily blocked his path. He did not flinch as he witnessed the anger taking over her features.
    "Nothing personal?!" She snarled. She gestured to the path they had just come from.
    "I just lost my entire family back there, and you say nothing personal?!."
    "They had already been infected...."
    "But you said a cure had been found! We could have saved them if you hadn't shot them.....!"
    Trent snapped. "I lied!"
    Chelsea stopped talking. Only one word seemed to be able to make past her shock. "What?"
    The truth of the matter had been weighing heavily on him. He brought a hand up to his face and gave a sigh of resignation. "I lied."
    Chelsea slapped him hard across the face. "Why would you do such a thing."
    "What did you want me to tell them?! That they would come back from the dead just to kill those they loved?! Come on, you' ve been dealing with this disease as long as I have. You should know better!"
    Trent looked up at the turning sky. "We need to find shelter soon. Night's coming."
    He pushed her aside and began walking once more. After a few moments of contemplation, Chelsea hiked her own gun up onto her shoulder and joined him.

    247 words @bookwormattack

  6. Posted for Leigh Cramer-Espinosa
    137 words
    Leigh, please add a twitter handle or email to be included in judging. Thanks.

    I could not believe he wanted me. He was beautiful! His body was to die for,and me,plain Jane at best. I had gone to a party of a friend of mine and sat in my usual corner. I wasn't into parties, but my friends begged me to come.

    There he was, coming towards me. I looked up and it seemed that the sun had finally shined on me. He romanced me, got into my soul. Oh, the passion-it was more than I could take. We were married a week later. I had never been happier in my life.

    A month later, I went to the bank to withdraw some money and there was nothing left, not even a penny. I ran home to ask him what had happened and I found a note. It said,"Nothing Personal, Kid."

  7. "Well, I'm sorry. I wasn't running away, no matter what they told you. I just needed time to think of a way out of my father's designs. Turns out I went a little farther than expected."

    Mack chuckled. "Farther is a good word for it." He shook his head. "Are you sure it's not personal?"

    Bethany nodded. "Yes. Nothing personal. Kid yourself all you want, but my father does nothing without intent of personal gain. If I don't publicly announce my engagement to Coolidge by the election, he stands to lose the large campaign contributions from the Family Focus Foundation."

    Mack leaned his head against the wall. "He seemed pretty anxious to get you back."

    "You know what they say in those cop shows? Follow the money." Bethany's hand tightened into a fist on his chest. "You do know John Coolidge is a member of Family Focus Foundation, right?"

    "No. We're strictly rescue and retrieval."

    "Yeah, well, here's another little tidbit I bet he didn't share. If I marry before I turn twenty-six, my new husband gets control of my trust fund left by my maternal grandfather."

    Mack's loathing for Coolidge increased. "So, Coolidge wants to marry you for the money?"

    "Yes, but wait. There's more. Dear old dad wants Coolidge to marry me because Coolidge is Stanton's stooge. Dad can't touch the money at all. It's mine or my husband's. Granddad was very specific. Apparently Dad's money lust came out early enough for Granddad to notice."

    250 ineligible #WIP500 words

  8. Twisted Mind

    He hums to himself as he mixes his powders and potions, smiling a little smile. It’s so much fun to mess about with the chemicals. Nothing makes him feel more complete than being in his sanctuary, making concoctions. He slips the magnifying glasses on and carefully measures out the mixture, pouring it through a funnel into the capsules. Once they’re filled, he drops them into the bottles and caps them tightly, checking them over to see if anyone could tell just by looking that they aren’t just ‘normal’. Satisfied, he loads them in boxes and distributes them all over town, to unsuspecting pharmacies and grocery stores.

    Back at home, he prepares dinner and goes about his normal routine. He is impatient, even though he knows that it may well be a few days before anything comes of it.

    Two days later, as he watches the news, eating his barely warm t.v. dinner, the breaking story comes on. A teenage boy has died from taking medication that has been tampered with. The newscaster speaks with controlled tones, but he can see the panic in her eyes, and knows that it is a reflection of the chaos he has spread.

    As the story winds up, they show a picture of the young man. He is handsome and smiling, looking forward to life, not knowing that the Reaper waits instead.

    “Nothing personal, kid.” He pats the top of the television, and heads back down to his workshop to figure out his next scheme.

    250 words {without title}

  9. The two men tied dad up, sat him in a chair, and tied him to it. They did the same thing with Tommy’s dad. One of them came over to me, “Nothing personal, kid. We’re just doing what we’ve been paid to do.”

    He turned to the other man, “Are we ready?”


    He turned back to me, “Go to your room. Cover your head with a pillow, so you can’t hear anything.”

    “What are you going to do?” I was scared. I felt like I was going to throw up. The two men had guns. They wore gloves and masks. They were black from head to toe. I had no idea what they looked like, other than mean.

    “We’re going to ask a few questions,” the man answered.

    The other man commented, “They might not want to answer. And our job’s to make them answer.”

    My dad said, “Go to your room, Bobby. And cover your ears, so you can’t hear anything.” He looked at both the strange men, “It’ll be alright.”

    It was one of those rare times when dad lied to me. I knew he was lying. He knew I could tell. I went to my room, and covered my years. I tried so hard not to hear anything.

    That was twenty years ago. I can still hear the sounds of those men beating on Dad, and Tommy’s Dad. I can still hear the sounds.

    247 Words

  10. Title: Collection
    Author: J.M. Mendur

    I hate collection assessments. Still, when you work for the government and they tell you that you have to complete yearly training assignments to keep your job, you do what you’re told. Especially when you do what I do. For my bosses, “severance package” means how many pieces you’re in when they bury you.

    This year, my assessment was to collect a set of names in less than forty-eight hours. There was a bit of research, then a lot of travel. As training assignments go, the work wasn’t really that demanding. I wouldn’t call it easy, though. Once the names were assembled, they’d probably be used to pressure someone. I mean, if you find out that a guy with your name was dead and then a voice on a phone asks you to do something, you’d probably do it, right?

    The old woman and the young couple were easy enough. The last target was troubling but I knew it was either him or me. I found him walking home alone from a neighbor’s house. I stepped in front of him, wondering what the father of little Timmy’s namesake had done to warrant this kind of attention.

    As I pulled the trigger, I said, “Nothing personal, kid. It’s for the good of the country.” I hope that made it easier.


    Word count: 219
    Twitter: @JMwandering

  11. The Blackjack Hand

    "Congratulations, Mr. Vargo." The dealer pushed the stacks of red chips toward Edward.

    Examining the columns of neatly stacked discs, Edward expertly calculated his take.

    "I'm out."

    "Me too."

    Barely noticed the two men leaving the table empty handed, his eyes focused on beauty sitting at the other end of the Blackjack table with her arms crossed. The pout decorating her angelic face told him this girl was used to getting her way.

    He lifted a stack of chips and let them drop to the felt covered table making a soft clattering sound he'd never tire of hearing. Raising an eyebrow, he nodded to the woman. "Nothing personal, kid."

    "I'm hardly a kid." She pulled a tube of lipstick from her clutch and slowly applied the raspberry stain to her plump lips. There was something familiar about those lips but his brain, along with his common sense, took a backseat to the inappropriate vision running through his head involving the things he could do with that sexy mouth.

    He cleared his throat, shifting in the chair. "To me you are."

    "You're Edward Vargo. Aren't you?"

    He studied the woman and moved to the empty chair next to her. Lifting her palm to his lips, the slight hitch of her breath wasn't easily missed. "Well, now I'm at a disadvantage because I don't know your name, darlin'."

    She squared her shoulders and narrowed her eyes. "Victoria LaRoy."

    Edward pulled his hand away. "Lizzie's kid sister?"

    She nodded slowly.

    "Fuck me."

    249 words

  12. The fear wasn’t nearly as palpable as it should’ve been pressed flush against his solid form serving as a human shield. Under normal circumstances, if she’d been mashed against his wall of muscle, her rapid heart rate would probably be throbbing elsewhere, but these weren’t normal circumstances. Still, her brain seemed confused by this fact.

    Cara was wedged between a metal shelf and Trey’s hard body—a body she’d eyed numerous times from a distance—in the middle of the QuickMart. She’d never seen someone move as fast as he had before the shots rang out. A muddled mess of panic and regret clouded her mind as she lay pressed against his back. Sixteen and never been kissed.

    Trey signaled and she obeyed, shimming farther towards the back. Without a word, Trey had secured a position near the armed robber and delivered an effortless forward sweep, knocking the guy down and disarmed him in record time.

    “You okay?” Trey questioned after the police arrived.

    “Un-huh.” Cara’s eyes traced the too tight shirt stretched across his torso and swallowed.

    “You sure?” He smirked.

    Giving a shaky nod, her breath caught as his hand slipped around her waist to steady her; they stood toe-to-toe.

    “Please, don’t look at me like that.”

    “What?” she squeaked.

    “That look—don’t, kid.”

    “I’m not a kid!”

    “Trust me, you are. If you weren’t, I’d gladly give you what your eyes are desperately begging me for. Nothing personal, kid.” He smiled and walked away.

    250 words

  13. I was strapped onto the bench, no escape from this hell-hole of a workshop despite my augmented body parts. Actually, it was because of my augmented body parts.

    The workshop itself was one of those places you went to when you wanted something obscure or you needed some kind of specialist; you know the kind of place, out of the way down some side street, with a tiny reception and a big basement where they do all the work. This one was a proper dungeon, know what I mean? I mean it was dark and stank of engine oil, tools and rags littered around the periphery, half-assembled contraptions on the benches.

    My kind of place.

    I needed a new piston for my left forearm, and my right leg needed a tune-up; that was all. Should have been in and out of there quick, wam-bam thank you maam, but instead I’d been sedated and put into plastcord restraints. Turns out I was going to have stuff removed rather than replaced.

    “Nothing personal kid”, the decrepit old robot said as it walked over to where I was lying, inserted a flat-headed screwdriver head into a power drill and fired it up.

    “Yeah, I know.” as it leaned forward and applied the torque to my leg.

    I activated the heating element in my forearm by tapping my thumb and index finger together, snapped the restraint . The robot looked up just in time to see my fist smash into its face.

    Nothing personal.

    250 words

  14. I was eleven the day she left.
    I was in the front yard, silently swinging on the old tire dangling from the live oak that shaded the winding drive from the relentless summer sun.
    Inside the house they were shouting again. They were always fighting so I spent a lot of time outside where I could use my imagination to create the happy world where my mom and dad were nice people who liked each other, instead of the sad reality I’d been suffering since before I could remember.
    The front door slammed and I glanced behind me. I saw her run down the porch steps then pause when she saw me slouched in the black rubber circle, slowly swaying in the still July heat. She quickly wiped the wetness off her face and approached. She looked as though she wanted to say something but changed her mind. Instead she looked back at the house where I could see him peering out the window, arms crossed and angry. I heard her suck in a sharp breath before beginning to trek down the packed dirt driveway.
    I watched the window, watched him drop his arms and move deeper into the house, beyond my sight. I looked at the ground for a long moment, then back up to see her walking away. Suddenly she turned and delivered just one line before disappearing down the dusty clay road forever. “Nothing personal, kid.”

    239 words

  15. I strode out with my head high, shoulders back and legs stepping out like I owned the catwalk. For the next three minutes I did. As the Hip Hop blared around me, I took hold of the pole in the center and swung my legs around it. My chest heaved as I pushed and pulled my weight. With one hand I tugged the loosely tied bra off and chucked it to the stage like the trash it was. I bent over it, shaking my ass, and stretching my calves and hamstrings. I looked at the men from between my ankles, my hair falling around my face.
    They looked bored.
    What had I done wrong? Was I not pretty enough? Not flash enough? Was I taking too long? I tugged off the thong and gyrated for them, going down to my knees at the end. I leaned back until my elbow were brushing the outside of my high heels, my breasts pointed straight up to the spotlights that shone down on me.
    “Nothing personal, kid, but you’re too clean for this place.” The Italian puffed on his thick cigar while I gasped for breath.
    “I can tell you’re trained,” the Irishman said, “but he’s right, it’s too choreographed.” He looked at his partner. “I didn’t think that was possible.”
    A square of paper spun across the floor toward her. “Try them.”
    Downtown Drivel. Really? I fought tears at my rejection and scooped up my discarded costume.
    245 words


    It was as though the dragon had appeared from nowhere—a cruel case of spontaneous generation. The nightmarish beast razed the land and murdered uncounted scores. Though it ate, it was not motivated by hunger. Though it hoarded riches, it was not motivated by greed. Even the greatest sages of the besieged land could identify no reason for the creature’s rain of destruction but pure malice.

    Under this black shadow the land burned and the people writhed in agony. Yet light shines brightest when the world is dark. From the ashes of the dragon’s devastation arose a young hero—a boy who had seen the slaughter first hand and suffered a deep and personal loss. On that day he took up his father’s sword and shield and became a man.

    His foe’s bulk was formidable, its overwhelming power palpable in the scorched air. Readying his arms and steeling his nerves, the young hero faced the final battle. Silently he mouthed the promise he’d made to himself at the beginning. Then he called out his foe.

    “Now, beast! Justice is come, and I swear my blade will find your black heart!”

    Bellowing, the behemoth lunged for the courageous boy—flames rising up from deep in its gullet. A single sharp crack split the air. The dragon collapsed at the young hero’s feet, ichor spraying from a lost eye. Turning the hero saw a stranger in a black duster lower a rifle.

    “Nothing personal, kid. But I don’t think you had that.”

    250 words

  17. “Sonofabitch!” Jack grabbed the foot the protesting big toe hopping like that might ease the throbbing pain. All effects of the whiskey consumed in town died in a flash of pain. “That goddamn trunk…”

    A baby’s cry split the air. Every muscle tensed like a well stretched rope. The orange glow of gaslight unveiled a woman’s form gliding across the floorboards of his bedroom to a crib. Was he at the wrong ranch?
    Words of comfort drifted back to him as she held the baby until loud bellows turned to hiccups.

    Jack dropped his foot. “That ain’t mine!”

    The angel in a white cotton gown angled her head meeting his gaze. Green eyes flashed with fire. Lines creased her brow. “Of course he’s not, ya fool. But he’s my responsibility and if I’m sharing your bed, he’s gotta come, too. I can’t be leavin’ him alone.”

    “Sharin’ my…” He whistled low remembering morning by the breaking ring.

    “Sorry, it’s nothin’ personal, Kid.”

    “I’m not a Kid. I just outrode and out roped every man here.”

    “There’s a depression goin’ on, Little Lady. Men got families to feed.”

    “I need to feed mine, too. What do ya suggest I do?”

    “Can ya ride a man like ya handled that mustang?”

    “Better.” He saw the lie in her red cheeks.

    “Fine. Show up tonight and ya got yerself a job in the house and out.”


    Two sets of green eyes stared at him as he returned to the present. “Sonofabitch.”

    249 words

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

  19. My official title is Transition Concierge, but that’s just a fancy ways of saying I escort the recently passed back home.

    I’ve been waiting for today’s assignment for exactly seventy two years. Jack Turner was my high school sweetheart and the only man I ever loved. We had plans to marry and start a family, but a set of worn tires and a rainy drive home after the rehearsal dinner changed all that.

    He looks pale, even against the white hospital sheets. The cancer has taken its toll on him, but his eyes are still the same pale blue I remember.

    “It’s good to see you again,” he says.

    I smile. “You, too. Ready to go?”

    “Are we going somewhere?” His voice trails off as his breath fails him.

    It only takes a few seconds for the confusion on his face to fade. I never have to tell them, folks always seem to be able to figure out why I’m there.

    “Nothing personal, kid…but I can’t go. My daughter…my grandson…they still need me.”

    I smile again. There’s no sense in debating or discussing it. They only send me when it’s time.

    After a few minutes he closes his eyes, and then he is beside me, looking back at the body that has finally given him up.

    We wait until the end, until they turn off the machines and pull the sheet over his face.

    “Ready?” I ask, taking his hand.

    “I suppose so,” he replies, “I suppose so.”

    248 words


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