Thursday, June 27, 2013

#ThursThreads - The Challenge That Ties Tales Together - Week 76


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 76 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 76:

Me, the Scottish Word Slinger. I'm also an Author of the Court at Hot Mojave Knights Romance Reader Event in Vegas 2013. Here's one of the knights with me. ;)

In addition to winning a badge, I'm offering the winners a PDF copy of The Beltane Witch, my latest Cloudburst, Colorado series release. So bring be your best tales.
And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.

The Prompt:

“I need one alive.”

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. CARPE DIEM -- By Leslie Fulton

    (226 words)

    Candace swam in a circle, her body glinting in the filtered light.

    “I’m bored of this,” she said, glancing at David.

    “You always say that,” he answered.

    “I’m sick of how fake it all is.”

    “You know you don’t have to play the game,” David said as he splashed in the water.

    “I can’t help myself. They’re so pretty but they’re just a big disappointment.”

    David swam to her side and looked in her eyes.

    “You shouldn’t let them toy with you like that,” he said, nudging her chin. Her skin was iridescent. She really is beautiful, he thought.

    “Shiny, pretty, feathered, tasteless tat,” muttered Candace. “I need one alive.”

    “Do you know what your problem is? You want everything handed to you on a platter. You use your good looks to get what you want,” said David, irked. “You’re a tease, Candace. You string people along instead of getting out there and doing things for yourself.”

    Candace stiffened, unheeding. “Look!”

    David turned his head.

    “Don’t do it,” he warned.

    “It’s so lovely. I want it!” She swam toward the red and gold lure bobbing gently on the water’s surface. A silver feather dangled down enticingly. With a big gulp she swallowed it. The next second she was gone.

    David shook his head. “Poor Candace,” he muttered. “She always falls for it hook, line and sinker.”

    (226 words)

  2. Sade peered around the corner of Marie Laveau’s tomb. “Sorta wish I smoked about now,” she muttered. “And carried a big ol’ can of hairspray.”

    “Nobody makes aerosol spray any more. It’s bad for the environment.”

    She took her eyes off the shuffling horde just long enough to glare at her partner. “Seriously, Caleb?”

    The werewolf shrugged. “We’d be better off with a steaming pile of guts. That would distract them long enough for us to get over the wall.”

    Sade measured the brick wall surrounding the cemetery with her gaze. “Easy for you to say. I’m only human.”

    The mob hesitated, those in front stopping completely while the ones bringing up the rear shambled into those ahead of them. The air around them stirred, sending little whirlwinds dancing through the humidity. Heads moved. Faces tilted toward the sky. Sade heard the whisper of leathery wings.


    She caught a glimpse of the gargoyle as he landed in the midst of the mob. Pandemonium erupted.

    “Roman! I need one alive!”

    Caleb laughed. “Uhm…Sade? You do realize they’re zombies, right?”

    “Yeah. That’s why I need one ali--” She blinked, her eyes shifting from left to right and back to left before she stared at Caleb. “Oh. Duh.” She peeked around the tomb again. “Roman! I need a dead one!”

    219 words from my current WIP BLACK MAGIC WOMAN


    1. Fab build up, fun ending!Love these characters already. xx

    2. Have to admit I'm enjoying myself way too much in Sade's world, Lizzie. :)

  3. They herded us into a vast hall, all of us struggling to stay upright after the grueling march. There had been more of us at the beginning, but our numbers had diminished as the miles had grown.

    The hall was filled with shadows that flittered and flowed without explanation, and the air was thick, hot, and rancid. We stop when the ropes that bind us finally go slack, barely able to stay on our feet.

    “This is all?” A woman’s voice called and I lift my head, but I can’t see anything in the gloom.

    “All that survived, mistress.” One of the guards yarded on the ropes threaded through our collars and we all stagger forward a half step.

    “I see.” The voice drifted from the darkness again, this time accompanied by a discordant, slithering noise.
    “I need one alive. Show them to me that I may choose.”

    My gorge rose at the implications of her words, and I wasn’t sure which would be the worse fate.

    One by one we were cut loose from our bonds and taken into the whirling shadows that cloaked the enemy, and one by one I heard my brothers-in-arms final, horrified screams.

    “Take these to the ‘mancers. They’ll make my mate a fine cadre of guards.” That voice again, cold and cruel. “Now, let me see the face of my new consort.”

    The point of a blade at my back, I step into the noxious darkness and go to meet my bride.

    248 words

    1. Delicious description making for an atmospheric tale. I would love to read more. xx

  4. Princess Lilliana slouched on her throne as another suitor strode confidently through the great hall that was her prison, swearing allegiance to her pompous father before declaring his undying love for her. But Lilliana was dreaming of escape not marriage; flying away on the back of a dragon, travelling on the winds to new lands feeling free and alive.

    “Princess Lilliana, I will travel the ends of the earth, bring you precious stones, catch you a falling star and even slaughter a thousand dragons in your honour, to show my love for you,” the prince declared. "They don't call me the Dragon Slayer for nothing."

    “You could show more interest Lilliana,” her father said sternly. “He is risking everything for you, fulfilling his destiny . . . . And yours.”

    “But I don’t want a falling star or need jewels or a slaughtered dragon! I need . . . I need . . .”

    “What do you need Lilliana. Please tell me, I will give you everything you will ever want or need my love,” the prince stated as he clutched her small, soft hand. A wry smile crept across Lilliana’s face.

    “A dragon,” she exclaimed.

    “I will bring you the fiercest dragon to walk the earth. He will be dragged through the streets with my sword plunged though his heart.”

    “No! I need one alive. You will do this for me.” The startled prince nodded, all enthusiasm evaporated as Lilliana’s heart soared just like the wings of her dragon.



  5. “I need one.”


    Honestly. The standard of minions these days was shocking. This was Henching 101.

    “Only one of you should be alive when you get back here, Muntz,” I said. “You choose."

    Muntz froze, adam’s apple fluttering like a priest in a whorehouse. Sweat birthed and pearled on his neck as his body fought conflicting desires to either run or get down to business. Also not unlike a priest in a whorehouse when you thought about it. Impatient, I spun him round, pointing towards the door.

    “Go out there. Find a warm body. Turn it into a cold
    body. Bring it here.”

    I shoved him on his way. His feet picked up the rhythm I’d started, glad to be taking him away from me.
    I winced as something hammered against the door, shaking the frame. Along with not asking stupid questions, Muntz was going to have to learn the art of the quiet kill.

    Another minute and he was back, dragging his tribute like an eager puppy. I knelt to check the specimen. I’d be working around the scalene muscles and needed the neck to be in good condition. It was. Too good. Right down to the pulse still trembling there.

    Sighing, I reached down into my boot for the knife I always kept there, keeping it close to my body as I stood. I draped my other arm over Muntz’s shoulders, leading him towards the lab table.

    “Now,” I said, “We were talking about choices…”

    248 words


  6. Crackdown


    Lieutenant Firedrake found Colonel Horncarver stood in front of the fireplace in the war room, staring into the flames, his mind’s eye gazing into the fires of battles long past. She marched over, stomped her boot-heel loudly and saluted.


    “What is it lieutenant?” asked Colonel Horncarver, turning to face Lieutenant Firedrake.

    “Sir, since we are imposing martial law, and controlling communications with the rest of the empire, it would be wise to consider shutting down the temples sir.”

    Horncarver’s brow furrowed. “You’re right lieutenant, of course we must. After all, some of the holy orders have temples all over the empire, and their objectives may be contrary to the interests of Noetica.” Horncarver smiled at the young woman; Firedrake was a capable soldier who had proved her mettle on more than one occasion, a credit to her family which itself had a long tradition of loyal service to its country.

    “Fine lieutenant, see to it.”


    “Something else lieutenant?”

    “Yes sir.”

    “What is it?”

    “We should shut down the temples of the order of Seraphina first; the women of that order may have artifices which they can use to communicate in addition to carrier pigeons sir.”

    Horncarver grimaced, squared his shoulders. “Alright, start with their temples.”


    “Just one thing lieutenant – I need one alive.”

    “Any one in particular sir?”

    “Their high priestess – Katra.”

    Saying nothing, Firedrake stomped her heel on the ground, smartly saluted the Colonel, then turned about-face and marched out.



    244 words

  7. “I need one alive.”

    I nodded, shouldering my gun. This was going to be harder than our usual captures, but I could do it. “Where are they hiding?”

    “Our last intel put them in the bunkers on Oneida Street.”

    I adjusted my helmet, then stepped out into the blazing dessert air. Heat shimmered on the horizon. My boots slapped the pavement as I moved towards the warehouse district. Naturally, I was after the smarter sect of Neidians: brains, ability to blend in with their surroundings…and I need to bring one back alive. Yeah, this was gonna be cake.

    The sun glinted off the metal roofs of the bunkers moments later. Flipping open my GPS locator, I scanned the area; if the Nedians were as smart as I thought, they’d be undetectable. Of course, I was right: not one Nedian chip was to be found. With a sigh, I moved down the middle of Ida street and popped the manhole cover. It was time to go into the underground.

    I crept down the ladder, a pungent smell permeating the air. Scanning again, I located one Neidian just ahead. I inched forward, the element of surprise on my hands. I moved around the corner and grabbed the insectoid around the neck, reaching for a collar with the other. I didn’t count on how quick the Neidians could move.


    “Got one alive, boss.” I blinked my eyes open and right into the giant eye of a Neidian. “Just like you asked.”


    250 words

  8. “I need one alive,” Doctor Pierson had insisted, and I had committed myself to getting the creature.
    I had watched as the creature in it’s habitat had drooled and spit food on its self before the other creatures had put it in a two sided wooden cage. The creature slept as I took it to my ship and prepared to bring it back. I placed it in stasis on my ship before programming my ship and getting into my sleep pod. I awoke two days later as my ship prepared to land. The specimen awoke and began to cry. I noticed in its hand it held a small toy that looked like me. Seeing me at first it looked puzzled then it’s mouth did an upturn and it’s eyes twinkled.
    “Bear,” it said and held up it’s arms.
    I picked it up and it’s tiny fingers grasped my claws. At that point my heart felt full and I knew I could not give this creature to Doctor Pierson. I raised the creature as my daughter. Eighteen years have passed, in which I have hidden her from the others like Doctor Pierson. She is fully grown and must go back to her own kind and reproduce a creature that I once found her to be. Water falls from my eyes as I return her to creatures who greet her with hugs. Doctor Pierson believes that the planet uninhabited I will keep him believing, so I can continue to visit her.
    249 words

  9. A slicing sound like paper being torn, sounded less than a heartbeat before the old sandstone foundation wall exploded behind them, burying the few remaining fighters in Cria’s group. As her hearing returned, the lack of sound matched the lack of movement. No cries. No moans. More Earthlings forever silenced.

    She was it, the last defense before the line broke and the bunker sheltering a dozen children and two old women caring for them was attacked.

    Low and motionless, she watched them between piles of crumbled yesterday, crumbled yesteryear, moving forward. Fearless, walking tall, they suddenly halted, then raised their arms at a warrior approaching, clad in armor so black it looked blue.

    Could she be so lucky? Have they dared to give away rank? A startling and sickening discovery followed; seven-foot-something of blue-black evil spoke in stilted Earth English.

    Another slicing sound of the alien weapon rang above her.

    Blue-black shouted, “Silence your weapons. I need one alive.”

    Crunching footsteps closed in. She had no choice. The children.

    Her hands, bloody and broken, fumbled with the clasp on her belt. Striking pay-dirt, she pulled out the object and raised it to her mouth. Spitting the pin from her teeth, she stood and screamed at the stunned creatures, “You want a live one? Earth girls are live ones; don’t you ever forget it, you murdering bastards!”

    Locking eyes with hatred in blue and black, she lobbed the grenade at him, then fled-- leading them away from the bunker.

    248 words @teresa_cypher

  10. “LT, be advised, Captain says he needs a tango for questioning.”

    “Say again. I need one alive?” Retro shot an incredulous look at Deli, his radioman.

    “Yes, sir. Captain says this cell is a hub.”

    “Fuck.” Retro signaled all stop. The squad froze. “Rimshot, be advised. Captain needs a tango incapacitated but alive.”

    “Say again?” Rimshot whispered, but Retro heard the disbelief.
    “Captain needs a live one.”

    “Copy that.” The disgust came through loud and clear despite Rimshot’s even tone. “I have eyes on the span and six, I repeat, six tangos visible.”

    “Copy that. Make one of them our winner.”

    “Roger that. Rimshot out.”

    Retro gave Deli a thumbs up and signaled for the rest of the squad to get moving. They hugged the river’s shoreline, only taking to higher ground at an odd protruding rock painted like a Northwestern Indian crocodile. The leering grin and wide staring eyes followed Retro as the Squad crouched at the base of a concrete wall. According to the map of the dam, this fortified the room where the women were being held.

    Retro directed the others to keep watch as he whistled a familiar tune the Squad used for identification. He held his breath as he waited for a response. The wind shifted the tall Douglas Firs around him, making them creak and rattle. After thirty seconds, Magic caught his eye and shook his head. Retro whistled again.

    He took a breath to whistle again when sharp reports of gunfire shattered the silence.

    250 ineligible #WIP500 words

  11. “I’m lonely.”

    Saying the words out loud—even with only Dionysus to hear them—weighed on me like an admission of guilt. The god of freaking desire, love, and all those wonderful hormone rushes leading to getting naked and the sweetest release known to man, woman, or retired god just did not want for companionship.

    “Seriously, E.” Dio sampled wine straight from the bottles. “You’ve spent too much time in exile where the only choices for lovers are vaguely related to you in the grand scheme of genealogy.”


    “Modern humans trace their lineages. They never seem to realize how many of their potential ancestors lied about who they were shagging.”


    Dio reared back.

    “Fucking, Eros. Fucking.”


    He stared at me, wide-eyed, before shaking his head. Then he propped his chin on his fist. “Do I properly modernize you first? Or find someone warm and willing to take the surly edge off of you?”

    With the snap of my fingers, the twitch of my cock, anyone could be mine.

    “I just need a lover.”

    “Need?” Dio cocked his head. “Interesting way to put it.”

    But no. I sat in a human bar getting drunk with the god of wine and madness, being picky.

    “You should ask Hades.”

    “What?” My gorge rose in my throat, burning. “I need one alive, thank you very much.”

    “I don’t mean ask him for a lover.” He leveled those shrewd hazel eyes on me. “I mean ask him about the one you seek.”

    250 words

  12. With the blindfold on, Anya could only hear the brisk footsteps and labored breathing of their captors. Her heart thundered with the thought that tonight could be her last. The thought wasn’t unwelcome. She longed for a break from the sadness holding her tighter than the invisible bonds keeping her imprisoned.

    Warm sour breath floated across her cheek and something sharp tore at the skin on her hand.

    An explosion to her left shook the room and she stumbled to the floor. Her bonds were broken, but she couldn’t move, a new fear held her frozen. The floor rumbled with extra footsteps altogether different.

    She no longer heard the steps of her jailors. What could make them run?

    “Check them all. I need one alive. Please let at least one be alive,” heralded a voice from her dreams long forgotten.

    “Captain, here!” She blinked as the blindfold was pulled away. “Is this the one?”


    155 words

  13. The clouds roiled in the sky, black and pitch and angrier than a toddler in a full blown temper tantrum.

    “They are going to come down, aren’t they?” Magda gave a glance as the last bit of sun and sky disappeared inch by inch.

    “If they are, we’re ready this time. We won’t sit by and let them terrorize us anymore.” Malcolm rested the barrels of the gun on the fence they stood at.

    “I don’t know, I think we should go into the house. This isn’t a good idea.”

    “NO!” He snapped at her. “I need one alive. I want to know why they keep coming down. There is nothing left. The house is the ONLY thing that isn’t burned to the ground.”

    Magda flinched back. “You’re the only thing I have left, Mal. I don’t want them to take you to.” Her eyes watered.

    A screech ripped through the air as a gout of flame ripped through the air. The black bodies of the creatures undulated through the dark clouds, no bigger than a hawk.

    “I want to know how to kill them all.” Malcolm raised the gun and sighted one. “They are all going to die.”

    199 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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