This starts out as a fairy tale, but does not end as such.

Riding on a subway, Jane was squirming with self-consciousness. Shaking dark curls out of her eyes, she wiped her shaking, clammy hands on purple and black striped leggings, brushing her elbow against the heavy object that was swinging gently -- almost innocuously -- in her left hand jacket pocket.

It's so heavy, she thought. Would I be able to drink all of it?

Earlier that day, she had obtained a potion in a sketchy graffiti-infested alleyway from her great-great-grandfather, who was alive and well -- and a...

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Four beautiful years. She had sat at this dining room table, polished every day by ol' reliable Miss Hamm, when they ate their first dinner of lamb cutlet, squash, and fingerling potatoes. He was all razor sharp grins as she giggled at the pieces of potato that he purposefully left dangling at the side of his smile.

Next year, at Thanksgiving, they had had their newborn, squirming at the side of the table with all of his raw and tender newness. He and his mother rambled on about the beautiful, perfect baby boy as if the two of them had...

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The girl looked at the crowds of people, like a flow, massive and unbearable, pressing in on her. The car sat in front of her, a dent in it's front bumper. She looked at the red gown hanging over her shoulders and puzzled to herself. I thought this was blue.

There had to be a better place to be. A sweeter smelling place.

Come with me, the voice said.

She looked around, her dark eyes narrowing. Her nostrils twitched, sour, offended. Something made her head pull back and away. Sulfurous.

Come with me, the voice said again.

Against her better...

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Once, in Beijing, a young girl in a red gown huddled in a doorway.

After a carefully judged amount of time she stood up and retied the bow at her waist.

"Sure, you stood me up at prom, Adam," she said, "but THIS is for calling my dissertation 'feeble-minded and a stunning waste of recycled pulp' in front of my advisor."

She retrieved her bike and stuck a hardbound volume titled "AN OPTIMIZED PROGRAMMABLE BINARY ARCHITECTURE FOR A SCALABLE DIGITAL THEOREM ITERATOR" into the handlebar basket.

Then, whistling, she hiked up her skirts, straddled the seat, and biked off into...

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Daring to be noticed for the first time in her life, she pushed her chair back and stood up. Channeling Renee Zelwegger in Jerry Maguire she said "I'm with you."
Nobody heard her mouselike voice. Clearing her throat, she repeated herself. "I'm with you."
James looked at her, "Oh um...anyone else?" he scanned the office hopefully. Everyone remained seated. "Oh um, great then. Thank you...who are you?"
"Sarah." she prompted, ignoring the disapointment on his face.
"Yes, Sarah. That's it you're in accounts, right?"
"Actually I'm one of the PAs." she was starting to feel a little disgruntled. She was...

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Collapsing in a fit of giggles, Claire stopped to catch her breath. Catching up with her, Simone danced around her, still singing.
Claire laughed. It had been the perfect night. And morning, come to think of it. It was 6am and the sun was already beginning to rise above the terraced houses.
"Thank you for a fantastically brilliant birthday!" Simone hugged her tight.
"You're welcome" she slurred. She was due at work in just over two hours. This was going to need a lot of coffee. Continuing to walk, they reached Claire's house and she crept in through the back...

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"I object!"

The whole church turned and stared at the woman panting uncontrollably at the doors. Heather couldn't believe she actualy made it right on time. This type of thing only happened on T.V, or so she thought.

She moved steadily down the ilse, getting mixtures of confusion, anger and outright amusement gazes from the crowd. Of course, Paul would look confused. He stepped away from his bride, who could have melted the mesh of her veil from the looks she gave.

"Heather," Paul cleared his throat, looking around the huge crowd. "What the heck are you doing here?"


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Charles didn't know what to think. The heat on his cheeks hurt too much, but he didn't like it when the flame disappeared. Jenny was the one holding the camera. She told him that they could all share the candle. It was one flame for the entire group. A moppet party, dad called it, because it was not their birthday.

Mom was sick. Charles could only think of that. She'd pale cheeks and skin stretched over her face, and her hair tangled and black and her mouth a gaping, gawping hole. She didn't even recognize any of them when they'd...

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"Mister Cloone?" said the sergeant as he sat down. "You know why we're holding you, right?"

Cloone shrugged and leaned back. "Fascism? Something something smokes?"

Sergeant Miller took off his own glasses. "We're stopping you here at the Richford/Quebec crossing because you were smuggling Cuban cigars into the country. Why would you do that? You didn't even try to hide them."

"It's the Hemingway in me. Cuba. And 'fuck the system'."

"You think that smuggling cigars makes you Hemingway?" asked Miller.

"I think it's a good start," replied Cloone.

"We have the boycott in place for a very good reason....

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