Once in Beijing, a young girl in a red gown huddled in a doorway. She was hoping to catch a cool breeze as well as a paying customer as the slinky dress billowed behind her. Cigarettes were sexy again, and with lung disease the least of her worries, she inhaled with abandon. Another night, another John...

But tonight was different, because as she bent to tap the ashes from her cigarette, she saw a green cloth protruding from behind the fake potted plant near the doorway. Curiousity getting the better of her, she pulled aside the leaves to find the...

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Whap! It him like a .... what? Whap! It did it again... that thing inside his head. He'd forgotten to take his meds... oh, many days gone by. The doctors had warned him when left the ward... Whap! It felt like... God, he couldn't have described it if he'd wanted to. He'd loved his mother.. when she was alive. Being dead didn't help his issues... his mother, not him, that is. The ward had been locked, the drugs forced on him.
He'd promised the doctors he'd take them when he got out.
He'd instead torn them up and...

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I'll miss the way the breeze would blow hair into his eyes, and the way I would brush it away, asking him when he was getting it cut, even though I knew he never would.

I'll miss the way the sun would warm the tops of my breasts when he lifted my shirt over my head, and the way his day-old stubble both hurt and excited me when he bent to suck one nipple, then the other, into his mouth.

I'll miss the way the dried grass felt beneath my bare back when he laid me down and pressed himself...

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Dressed as a blue cow-like demon, the boy started taking pictures of the wall. The camera was heavy in his small ungloved hands. When he pressed the red button on the top an audible click could be heard and helped persuade him to take as many pictures as quickly as possible to hear that sound in rapid succession.

The camera was his fathers, an old one, one that was locked up until the recent garage sell his mother had. When she got to the box labeled 'Dave's' she sat on it and cried. It was a welcomed moment and she...

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Until now, she'd never thought of herself as pretty. And, if she was honest, she still didn't. It wasn't her mind that had changed. It wasn't even thhe mind of the world in general. Just the rather pleasant opinion of one particular man who she had met while walking into town. He had caught her eye as she passed, caught her hard and fast in fact. She was forced to an abrupt halt, staggered by it's impact. Not unpleasant, mind. Gentle, but admiring. There was power in that. He had looked and smiled and then complimented her on her looks,...

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Our city used to have one psychic, an old blonde woman who read palms and tarot out of her ground floor apartment. Her name was Liza and she spoke with a rolling California speech, peppering every other sentence with "fer sures" and "gnarlies".

Since the housing crisis, the population of palmists has grown. There is a stretch of road on Congress Street where seven women ply their trade, each operating from their own storefront. They are the only profession that seems to be growing, buying up empty retail locations.

It's worth noting that the women are just mere footsteps from...

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Whenever she had balked at doing her homework in high school, her mother had always turned to her and asked, "Nadine, would you rather be a big fish in a little pond, or a big fish in a big pond?"

Nadine was pretty sure her mother was misquoting that aphorism.

Not entirely sure, of course. She hadn't been entirely sure of anything in years; she didn't feel entitled to feelings of certainty without a diploma or GED under her belt.

These days, Nadine was definitely just a small fish, little more than a fry. She was the fish that all...

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Augustine - certainly not a saint at this point in time - sat in the garden reading. According to the custom of the time, he read aloud. He read his new passion, the letters of St Paul and the Holy Gospels. Today he was reading in Galatians. Freedom was God's gift to the Christian. Augustine searched his heart and his body. He was not free. He was attached: attached to his mistress and his son, named ironically Deodatus (God's gift); he was attached to the enjoyment of sexuality; he was attached to his comfortable lifestyle. He was imprisoned by his...

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