Tiny dots of heaven.

That's what they were. Tiny dots of heaven.

Cats had always been the protectors of the gods, their defenders. It was why cats were so often walking abroad during the day; there was no time to spend in the home when one was on protection duty.

Some took their duty more seriously than others, but those cats would be punished.

They would not be given these tiny dots of heaven - a reward from above, a thank you from the Masters.

Of course, you had to put up with stupid names from the earthly ones, but...

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"What is a pension, anyway?"

She stared at him. "How do you not know what a pension is?"

He shuffled his feet, not looking at her. He mumbled something indistinct about not really having to worry about that sort of thing, what with his family, and the fortune (the fortune was probably now lining the public purse, or possibly a lawyer's office, depending on the outcome of the court case)

There were times when she felt the gap between them more than others. She took his hand - now wasn't the time to start comforting, there was no time for...

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

Twice, in Singapore, she sat by a fountain.

Three times, in Kuala Lumpur, at three different locations, she waited by Banyan trees.

She was waiting. Always waiting.

She was waiting for me.

She didn't know that I knew that she was waiting for me, but enough money, in the right pockets, can keep me out of trouble. *Has* kept me out of trouble for the past four years. Kept me out of her hands. Out of the hands of the people who wanted to find me....

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'Kenya.'

I looked up from my book. 'Huh?'

'Kenya.'

'Can I what?'

'No, the country. Kenya.'

'Yeah, okay, in Africa. What about it?'

'We found him there. He's working in an aid camp for Somalian refugees.'

'Him? Who?'

'You know who I'm talking about.'

I put the book down, forgetting it. 'How certain are you of this? There can be absolutely no mistake, understand?'

'Positive identification. No question.'

'Anecdotal or visual? We need to be sure.'

'Oh, absolutely visual. A low flying drone picked him up leaving a market. He had a couple of bags of veggies and a rack...

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The noises that, at first, filled every pocket of air, immediately and harmoniously silenced. The overcast sky of smog and gas cracked open like chick which has been waiting weeks to hatch, the yellow feathers shined through. And all was quiet. The men did not speak, they dropped their arms, but their guns' falls were muted by this minute of peace. Even the men dared not to speak. Enemies were no longer so, there was no definition between men, just as there are no barriers between the birds which were the first to make a sound. A song which awoke...

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