#ThursThreads, week 498


“He spoke the truth.”

“Does it matter? He hurt you.” Her voice was quiet, compassionate. 

“Of course it matters.” Mine, on the other hand, spat the words at her like daggers. “I did exactly what he said I did.”

“But that doesn’t mean you are who he says you are.” I didn’t respond. “It doesn’t, Tom.”

“Will you help me forget or not?”

“Was any of it good? Christmases, birthdays? Love?”

“I don’t want the good, either. Don’t you get it? I don’t want to have a past!” She started to speak, but I was going now. “The bad – hell, no one wants the bad, right? The pain, the rejection? Being judged and being found wanting? But the good? That makes it all worth living, doesn’t it? Why do I want to remember being happy when it’s gone? I can’t go back there. All I can do is miss people and places and things.”

I was expecting some sort of argument from her. Some “smile because it happened” bullshit. What I got was a grin that mirrored the darkness in my words, twisted and vicious.

“You probably think you’re messed up, right? Broken?” She laughed. “They’re the ones who don’t get it, who think the past matters, who cling to old loves and old pain. Old dreams.

“Of course we will help you forget.”


#ThursThreads, week 497


Tami fought back tears with a sniffle. It’s hard being brave when you’re five. It’s even harder when you’re alone.

“But Mommy.” Tami paused, swallowing hard. “Mommy…she said nothing would prevent her from coming home to me. She promised!”

Now the tears came, hot and fierce, her body unable to contain its grief. 

I didn’t move, or reach out a hand, or try to comfort her. As much as that would feel good right now – to both of us – Tami needed to know she could get through the pain on her own. So I waited, perched on one knee, until the storm passed and she looked back at me.

“What do I do now?”

“You run. You leave this place now and you run, as fast and as far as you can go. Then you hide – and I mean really hide, not just sit behind a tree or behind a big rock. You’re small. The world is full of places you can put yourself where no one will see you. And when you can go again, you run.”

“How…how will I eat? Who will take care of me? How long do I need to run?”

I took the last question first. “Forever, or as near to forever as you can think of. Find help where you can, but don’t expect anyone to take care of you. That part of your life is over.”

I couldn’t give her hope. That would get her killed out there.

Hope was mine to find.

250 words


#ThursThreads, week 496


“They’re pretty good, aren’t they?”

The drawings looked like cat puke, but even I wasn’t a big enough asshole to tell the mother of a four year old that, especially not in the waiting room outside her pediatric ICU.

“Mellie has a real passion for creating things, you know. When I found where she had scribbled with markers inside her closet, she was so excited that I got to see her ‘Museum.’ I hugged her and told her that she could never do that again.” Her voice broke.

“And now she never will.”

“You don’t know that, Katya. The doctors here are exceptional.”

“I don’t give a fuck how exceptional a doctor is, John! You saw what she is now – the goddamned bastard cut off her hands and..” We got stares from the others in the waiting room – sitting a socially appropriate distance away, of course – but I didn’t care. There are some times that a parent just needs to howl. 

I put my hand on Katya’s while she wept and tried to find words. I didn’t dare hug her – not now, probably not ever again. But I could do this. I could be here, I could offer just that amount of touch.

I knew who the goddamned bastard was, of course. I knew he was after me, and what I could do. I knew that he hoped I’d have to give in now, now that he’d shown me how far he’d go.

And I knew he was right.

249 words


#ThursThreads, week 495



I should’ve known by the silence that something had gone horribly wrong.

“Kids! Hey kids! You’d better not be getting into my stuff! You know not to touch Dad’s gear, right? Right?!”

More silence.

I groaned as I got up and made my way to the stairs. “Kids!”

I saw the flicker of candlelight as I made my way downstairs and, oh damn. No way to escape the smell of preserved Eye of Newt. They’d better have opened the cheap stuff. At $150/ounce, the other stuff was for special occasions, that’s for sure.

Before rounding the corner, I closed my eyes and took a breath.

I knew they’d get into the spell supplies one of these days. When they were little, the icky bottles and gross smells kept them away, but they’ve been getting curious. I should have increased the protection spells, but work, and the pandemic, and…

Stepping into the candlelight, I tried to moderate my voice. “Alex. Brittany. I know we’ve talked…”

They weren’t there.

The pentagram was there, drawn perfectly.

The candles were placed at exactly the right spots.

The cauldron was filled to the proper level and was simmering – not boiling.

But no kids.

“They’re Christmas shopping.”

“They’re what?”

My familiar landed on my shoulder, shaking his tail. “Shopping. What do you get for the warlock who has the power to create anything?”

“But where? No, they couldn’t have. Did they?”


I sighed, then smiled, looking at the perfect pentagram. “They’re pretty good, aren’t they?”

250 words