tom.hamshere (joined over 11 years ago)
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It's me. I'm here. You can relax.


The disco ball was turning, turning, spraying shimmering light across the hall. Anne's body lay beneath it in a sparkling pool of blood that was slowly soaking in to the carpet.

Her father remained at the top of the stairs, gun in hand.

"Damn," said Spencer, standing in the doorway. "You guys really know how to party!"

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Turning twice to see the darkness and the light, Keeley lost track of the zombie that had been running along behind her at surprising speed. Somehow he slipped in to the shadows as her light-blinded eyes took too long to adjust. No matter. Keep moving. She had to keep moving. She'd learned that early on. They were too slow to give chase. Except this one. Something about they way he moved led her to think that he was different. Faster, yes. But also more precise.

The bridge ahead of her looked empty. Still, she approached it warily, knowing that appearances...

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"Who are you? No, wait. Where are you?"
"Look up."
"You're in the sky?"
"We are."
"Butterflies. Yes. Does this bother you?"
"To be honest, less than it should."
"We have been watching you. We saw that you were different. We chose you."
"Chose me for what?"
"The time is coming and we are here to warn you. To warn all of you."
"Warn us? What are you, some sort of prophet."
"We are of God, if that is what you mean."
"We bring you a message from the depths of chaos, the heart of...

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"Stop. Look around you. What can you see? The nearest human is over ten miles away. You are alone. Quite possibly more alone than you have been your whole life. There's a physical aspect to this feeling you're having, this aloneness. It's relaxing. Take a moment. Feel yourself relax. Feel your heartbeat slow. Feel you mind de-clutter and expand into a space no longer populated by others. Feel those invisible boundaries dissolve."

The voice paused and Karen became conscious of the slow drum beat that she must have been hearing for some time. She could hear the rhythm of her...

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It was a shock to the system, moving out of the city. I had always thought I belonged there, amongst the grime and the noise and the grey. It seemed right to wake in the morning to the sound of garbage trucks and too-loud television.

Adam had been right. I knew that as I turned off my iPod and, lifting my headphones, listened to a beautiful moment of silence. The air was still and cool, the day clear and bright. I wondered if there were other people somewhere in the valley below, hidden by the trees. Perhaps I was alone...

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The paradox was that while we had been sitting in a cafe in Paris, waiting for the kick, our future selves had reprogrammed the jukebox to play nothing but St. Etienne. So we sat and we drank our tea and slowly, little by little, we became our own dream. The future died there amongst the earl grey and gilt picture frames, and with it, so did she.

She wasn't more than 10 when the meteor struck Beijing, the meteor we should have been there to stop. Huddled in a doorway, she died wrapped in red silk and fire. She was...

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"It worked!" He stood, startled by the sound of his own voice. What had worked?
Looking around, he wasn't quite sure if he should be more worried that he didn't know why he had said something he didn't understand, or about the fact that he was in a place he didn't recognise with no memory of having arrived there. A word caught his eye. Phone. He rolled it around his head. Yes. He could make a call. He should make a call. A number emerged from his growing consciousness. Should he be worried about that feeling of expansion, as though...

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A small office, four storeys up a marble staircase with an flowery ironwork bannister. Dark. Quiet. A light passes the window, shifting the shadows. There, in the darkness behind the desk, a face. An open mouth. Staring eyes. John's heart hammers in his chest so loudly. Can he here it? Can Adam see him? And the girl. The poor girl. Blood pools beneath the desk. And for what? A painting? Art from an artist centuries past. A dead work for dead people. His hand tightens on the suitcashandle. The Pelican. Is it worth this?

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Once, in Beijing, a young girl in a red gown huddled in a doorway. She was the last surviving member of the Yoshi Crew, a band who had until recently been quite the rage amongst the in-crowd of Berlin. Her devil-may-care attitude and foul mouth had won her a place in the hearts and minds of Berlin's anti-establishment, anti-casual, anti-everything crowd. In Beijing, things had gone more than a little wrong. Mechmal, the under-fed, over-exaggerated singer had found them a gig at a nightclub in the centre of Beijing's equivalent of Soho as they worked their way around the world....

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