Thursday, June 26, 2014

#ThursThreads - The Challenge That Ties Tales Together - Week 125

Welcome back to the Weird, the Wild, & the Wicked. It's Thursday today, so get your flash ready. Writing a #flashfiction thread! Welcome to Week 125 of #ThursThreads, the challenge that ties tales together. One new thing: We now start at 7 am MOUNTAIN TIME. Want to keep up each week? You're welcome to join the FB #ThursThreads group where we'll do events and make announcements. 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 8 PM Mountain 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 125:

Dog lover, Flagstaff native, and police academy candidate, Joe Burke.

And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.

The Prompt:

“What do you mean?”

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. I received a text message requesting my assistance in resolving a dispute among the eleven elders who had taken a stand behind the Wall. I could not resolve the conflict, and I suggested that the elders refer the matter to the New Imam.
    When the representative of the elders finally reached the New Imam, it was two o'clock in the morning. During our conference call, the New Imam listened patiently and without apparent prejudice to both sides of the disagreement submitted to him for resolution.
    One party was of the opinion that that fathers and heads of households who wished to stay at the location should be permitted to remain through the entirety of the inevitable American assault, on the theory that the installation of an Islamic government would render moot the question of whether the sisters, wives, and young ones should fear oppression following their martyrdom.
    The contrary party held that men with wives and children should be excused, whether they wished to leave or not, because of the market for human flesh that existed in the poorer quarters of the city. Such martyrdoms, martyrdoms that left women and children without protectors and supporters, were to be avoided, they argued, because of the possibility of defeat.
    Which view should prevail?
    “Defeat? What do you mean?” the New Imam asked.
    He pronounced in favor of the first group. He instructed the emissary to inform those in the second group that their position flirted with the borders of apostasy.

    248 words
    Yusuf Toropov

  2. His words buzzed in her brain. “What do you mean?”

    “Just what I said, Jolie. What I’ve said all along. I want to be a part of CJ’s life. And yours.”

    “What have you done?”

    Her face flush, hands clenching in her lap. Jolie believed she was always in control of her emotions. Cord knew better. He’d swallowed her screams as she came apart in his arms when they’d made love. He’d absorbed her tears and anger.

    “Nothing.” His gaze never left her face. “Yet. Chance drafted an order to amend CJ’s birth certificate, listing me as his birth father.” He covered her hands with his and she tensed. “I want to be his father legally, Jolie. It’s for his protection.”

    She jerked away and scooted her chair back. He tunneled his fingers through his hair. “The accident made me think, Jolie. I didn’t know about CJ then but I do now. I could have died. I want to make sure our son is provided for.”

    Jolie hissed like a cat dunked in a bucket of cold water. “I have more than enough assets to take care of CJ. And Dad set up a trust when he was born.”

    “He’s still my son, Jolie. I want to take care of him.” And you, he silently added.


    “Don’t make me go to court. For CJ’s sake.”

    “If you really cared about CJ you’d leave us alone.”

    “Never.” This woman and their son owned his heart and always would.
    250 words

  3. Posting for L.T. Dalin

    I was having a surreal moment. The kind I'd look back at for years to come to try and remember whether it really happened the way it did.
    The sky in front of me was dark green, slowly transitioning to the blackest of black. Lightning tore across the sky making it look like cracked paint peeling from its canvass. Perhaps God was behind the cracks, looking down at me, standing alone in the middle of a field filled with yellow flowers.

    Though, I wasn't alone. I had never been alone my entire life.

    "Blue daisies will never be this yellow,"I said, and plucked the head of a flower and tossed it over my shoulder.

    "What do you mean? Blue daisies?" he replied, his voice real and strong. There was no one standing in the space to either side of me, but this is where he was. Beside me, as he always had been.
    He occupied the space between space, he'd explained. That way he neither was nor weren't.

    "Yes,"I said. "You're a blue daisy smack in the middle of a field covered with yellow ones."

    "Ah." He exhaled softly. "Could be worse, I suppose. I could be a tulip. Tulips and daisies simply don't mix."

    I couldn't tell if he was joking or not, as he sounded genuinely worried about the tulips and daisies getting rough with each other.

    Maybe we were both crazy. I'd always thought they got along just fine.

    242 words

  4. The scratch of the pen seemed loud in the silent room, but the woman’s scent pulled back a little from fear and tension. She must think finding her husband is a done deal with the signature. That hadn’t been Nik's experience, but he wouldn’t rush to judgment just yet.

    “Thank you, Mrs. Johnson.” Nik separated the copies for her to keep. “How would you like to pay? Cash or credit card?”

    The woman grimaced, but fished out her wallet. “I’d like this to be a cash transaction.”

    Nik nodded. That was often the case in his business. Most folks didn’t want a record of their visit. “Would you like a receipt?”

    “No, the contract is sufficient.”

    After Nik took the cash, he took down all the information she had on her husband’s trip. Hotel, known associates, friends, favorite locations around Las Vegas. Richard Johnson seemed like a fairly ordinary guy. According to his wife. He held back a grimace. Most of the men he trailed hid everything they could from their wives.

    “Well, Mrs. Johnson, I truly hope this two grand is a waste of your money.”

    “What do you mean by that, Mr. Wolffe?”

    “I hope we find your husband doing nothing more than getting lost on a binge in some casino or he stumbles in drunk to his hotel instead of something more sinister.”

    Her expression hardened. “For his sake, I do, too, Mr. Wolffe.”

    Aw hell. Maybe he did come here for relief from this woman.

    237 ineligible #WIP500 words

  5. I watched my husband pace our living room. He was gonna wear a hole in the floor in a minute.

    "Waasss wrong?" I'd asked that question about a thousand times in the last fifteen minutes.

    "I'm thinking!" He'd shouted that answer at least a thousand and one times in the last fifteen minutes.

    Leaning back in my chair, I waited. His nostrils flared, his face was red, his eyes were wide, and and his bare feet slapped the hardwood with a painful smack.

    "I just—I can't do this anymore!"

    The world tilted and my stomach churned, a glass inches from my lips. I sobered up when he smacked my hand and the glass crashed to the floor.

    "What do you mean?"

    "This!" He gestured to the mess on the floor. Whiskey dripped from my bare legs, reeking of alcohol. A puddle seeped into our shiny floors. Oh, that was going to piss him off. "I can't do this anymore, Jimmy! Get out! And don't come back!'

    Tears welled in my swollen eyes as I stood, swaying on my feet. I wasn't goin' anywhere. I picked up an empty bottle, swinging at Jacoby's head. Something thunked, but that could've been me hitting the floor.

    "Get out!" he shouted, clutching his head.

    I wobbled to my feet, holding my bottle. It was my favorite brand and I was out. Grabbing my keys, I walked out, the door clicking shut behind me with frightening finality.

    243 words

  6. ~~~~~

    She smiled down at Alice, and feathered a finger across her cheek. Alice turned into her touch, and smiled an exhausted smile. Andie felt that smile all the way into her soul, it went in and moved things around in such a basic way that her whole vision blurred for a second.

    She fought to stay focused on Alice, but the happiness in her body needed to come out somewhere. She leaned in and whispered in Alice’s ear, “You are beautiful and I love you.”

    Alice smiled, turned, and asked, “What do you mean?”

    Deep breath.

    “Marry me, sweet girl?”


    Word count: 100 on the nose
    Twitter handle: @AnnaLund2011

    1. Heh, thank you, Josh!
      I love keeping it to 100 words exactly.
      A lot of cutting happens :-)

  7. Corey sat on the floor of a windowless room with his eyes half closed while a misshapen creature fed upon his soul.

    "What were you thinking?" the monster said in Corey's voice, between mouthfuls of pain.

    Corey reacted, grimacing. The demon began to glow as it encircled his torso, its long tail twitching back and forth like a cat.

    "You always make the worst choices," the creature said.

    Corey shrunk beneath the weight of the creatures attack, frowning as he considered the words. The demon fed on Corey's fears and worry, burrowing into him like a tick.

    The demon whispered into Corey’s ear.

    "What do you mean, you did it all for love?"

    Corey remained still, eyes half lidded. A flicker of tail across his vision brought him up from his half sleep. He opened his eyes.

    With a flash Corey's hand snapped back and grabbed the demon thing by its neck. The demon thrashed and fought and Corey brought the thing out into the light.

    The creature shriveled as Corey watched its skin and muscles disolve. The monster tried to escape as it shrank smaller. It opened its mouth to scream a final curse, a special theme of hate and self-loathing created to bring Corey down, to bring him to his knees.

    Corey squeezed the pitiful thing a final time and life left its hateful eyes.

    Corey stood as the creature fell to dust. He opened the door and stepped out into the world.

    245 words

  8. “What do you mean?” Her voice pitched higher, and she fought against the rock lodged at the base of her throat. “You’re leaving?”

    Every drawer on Luke’s side of the dresser was abandoned. The bottom two lay empty, and he scooped up his socks and underwear from the top one. She’d washed and put those away yesterday.

    “Come on Em, you know this hasn’t worked in a while.”

    She brushed away tears, and focused on a fuzzy blue pair of socks in his hand. She’d bought them for him at a Life is Good store in Santa Barbara.

    “I want those!” Emily said, snatching the cushy comfort. He didn’t deserve them.

    “But they’re men’s socks …” He looked at his empty hand. “Why do you want them?”

    Because when he worked late at night, or went on business trips, she wore his socks, as a reminder of him and their love. She wouldn’t tell him that now.

    “Because I do.” She sat on the ottoman, and slipped them on. If he wants them so badly, he’ll have to take them off my body.

    Mouth ajar, he shook his head. “Things like that. I don’t understand you.” He turned toward the closet. “You’ve changed.”

    “Me? I’m not the one giving up. I’m not the one leaving. You’re the one walking out on our family.”

    He ran his fingers threw his hair, making it stick up. “It doesn’t mean forever. I need some time.”

    “Fuck that. You walk out now, it’s forever.”

    250 words

  9. This was one of those days I should’ve called in sick to work. What do I mean? Let me explain.

    My car broke down on the drive to work this morning, smack in the middle of rush hour! Stop laughing! It wasn’t funny! I was late to work. And the people kept making mean faces at me. More than one screamed, “Get that piece of crap out of the road, you idiot!” Stop laughing!

    I should have given up and gone home to hide, but no, I was stupid, and thought, “It’ll get better!” When I got to work, late, the friggin’ elevator had died. I had to climb 8 flights of stairs to get to the office. It smells like people sleep in there at night, and piss beer on the walls! What do you mean you doubt that? Stop laughing! It got worse!

    The boss’s computer died. Hard drive went “Kack! Kack! Kack! Kack!” He was like, “Get my report off that computer NOW! I need to print copies for the meeting this afternoon!” Have you ever tried to explain hard disk drives to your boss? “Here, boss. Let me change the laws of physics for you, so you’ll be successful at the meeting this afternoon.”

    I even had to catch the bus home, because my car’s still deader than a brick.

    What do you mean, my day was a comedy of errors? You think it’s funny? Stop laughing!

    241 Words

  10. Francine stared at detailed map on the desk. Slowly she traced the boundary lines of her homeland. “She really wants an empire.”

    “No real need to take over the world just yet.”

    Francine jumped at Netta’s soft voice. The Lady bowed to the redheaded monarch dressed in male garb and ignored the prisoner the princess pushed to the floor. “Besides I haven’t given you your bridal gift.”

    “Your highness -“
    “I insist. A moment, my Lady?” Netta turned to the prisoner arms crossed. “Kale, I sentence you to death.”

    “You can’t do that! Death is only by Imperial Decree!” The bound man attempted rising only to have Netta’s boot connect with his jaw.

    “As of ten minutes ago, I became the Imperial monarch. My Lady?” Netta held out her hand. Cooly, Francine took it. “It’s no coincidence that my grandfather just died from the sickness that ails your King. After much investigation, I have found that this man is the culprit. He’s poisoned many royal cups in his day.”

    Netta pushed Francine ahead of her and stepped back.

    “Kale? This is the King’s cousin, Lady Francine of Karima descent, a people of magic and wonder. You may know her by another legendary name, The King’s Witch. No? How about Fire Hand?”

    “What do you mean? That’s just a myth!” screamed Kale.

    Francine held out her hand as flames danced above it.

    “Take your time, My Lady,” Netta whispered. “He doesn’t have to die right away. It’s hours until dinner, yet.”

    Theresa Breaux
    250 words

  11. Terran flexed her wings, the spike of pain cutting through the swaddled awareness. Feathers littered the soiled floor around her, mixed in with reddish spots. Chains shifted as she moved within her limited confines, the taunt chains keeping her arms angled out from her body in a Y shape.

    The dark chuckle echoed in the back of her head, choking her with a miasma of malevolence. “Isn’t this a bad situation. Aww, look are your poor wings, so bare. Much longer and they’ll be stripped of every single feather. How very tragic. And those chains…they feel spelled to drain your own magic. Tsk. Who knew that your mission would end like this.”

    Terran rolled her shoulders. If she kept it up, she would probably get used to the pain. It was better than feeling the pressure of the voice in her own head. “I will get out. I will get better. And then I’m going to shatter all your bones until they look like gravel.

    “Good luck with that. You’ll die in that place and no one will know.”

    “Don’t be so sure of yourself. That was always your downfall, dearest sister.”

    “What do you mean?”

    “I mean you think you have the upper hand and you don’t.” Terran gave a crooked grin in the darkness. “So go sit on a spiked pike and spin, sweetness. I’ll see you when I see you.”

    The best moment was when the pressure in the head eased up. She gave a raspy chuckle.

    @250 words

  12. “If we’re going to work together you can’t keep looking at me like that.” Jax wiped his brow, his tanned chest glistening in the sun as he stopped shoveling.

    “What—“ Mike’s voice cracked. Smooth, Mike. Real smooth. He cleared his throat. “Um…what do you mean?” He didn’t think Jax would notice.

    Jax smiled and leaned toward him. He smelled like earth and sweat and…

    “Your eyes say you want to bend me over that tree trunk over there and have your way with me.”

    God! How the heck did he--? “Don’t be ridiculous. My eyes aren’t saying anything,“ Mike replied, but the tremble in his voice dashed any semblance of conviction he might have had.

    “No?” Jax tossed the shovel aside and came at him, making Mike backpeddle until he hit the solid barrier of the retaining wall. Jax flattened his palms on either side of Mike’s head and pressed in close. So close Mike could feel Jax’s sweat through his clothes. Shit, that’s nice.

    “I’m sorry! I’ll try to keep my eyes from saying such vulgar things.” Mike squeezed his eyes shut.

    Small puffs of hot air caressed Mike’s cheek as Jax chuckled. “I should have said, if we’re going to work together you can’t keep looking at me like that and not DO anything about it.”

    Mike’s eyes flew open to see Jax’s eyes crinkle at the corners. “Fuck…” Mike whispered before covering Jax’s mouth with his.

    241 Words

  13. #ThursThreads is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope to see you next week for the 3rd of July!


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