I'm in the woods. I have no idea how I got here or where I am. I remember the number 4. What does that have to do with anything? Was I playing video games? I think I was in search of finding the answer to my question. Or was I trying to find the question? The answer was change. Yes, that was it. I had about 10 quarters and I did something with them because I do not have them anymore. mmhmm Why is that doll staring at me? Isn't that my girlfriends? Didn't she make that in image of...

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This is not what Steve had in mind when he signed up to test the virtual reality technology at work. Not at all. He thought it would be unicorns farting rainbows. But this was ridiculous.

The scenes were patterned after video games. Not because the team wasn't creative, but because that meant the testers didn't need to take the time to learn the rules of a new environment.

Steve had pulled Super Mario Bros. from the lot. Except there was a fatal flaw in the technology. Enemies didn't die, they just disappeared for a bit. Then they came back with...

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The sun had been on her body for 6 days now. Beating down on her pale skin in the Pennsylvania field. Arnold was driving by and saw something strange, and of course it smelled awful; it was 85 degrees that July 4th and he was headed to Grandma Beth's for the pig roast. He pulled his white pickup to a halt, the dust flying behind him into the hot summer air.

He hopped out, put his handkerchief to his nose and mouth, and pulled his straw hat slightly over his eyes. Arnold walked but two steps when he started gagging...

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They were trapped for seven days. The airlocks were blinking green and somewhere in the deck below, the supports creaked and machinery rumbled. My little brother continued playing his hand-held game, while the rest of us tried to make contact with other ships.

We were floating above the 3rd moon, it's deep northern crater eying us like an angry cyclops. We had barely made it through the atmosphere before the alarms went off and the ship stopped. Somehow, we had been flagged with contraband and the authorities were on their way up, checking through the nether regions first.

A message...

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"Bad way to go," said Detective Renfield. He was standing over the body (or what was left of it) with his arms akimbo.

I sighed, adjusting my hat to better shade me from the hot sun. "Fourth case this month," I reminded him. "Maybe city hall will finally get serious about the pigeons after this."

"Nah, I wouldn't count on it," my partner said cynically. "A few bums get eaten by pigeons, what do folk like them care?"

"According the statistics, the pigeon population's tripled in just a few months," I remarked, thinking back to my interview with Professor Gendry....

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They crouched to peer beneath the stairs.
"Did that blade seriously just nick my ankle?"
Brody grabbed a stalk of grass and shook it in front of the step. A pair of scissors lashed out and bisected the leaf and receded into obscurity.
"It looks like Jiro's back." Myka pulled a long, desperate drag out of her cigarette. "Looks like the girlfriend thing didn't work out."
"Maybe the booby trap is to keep people out as they get it on." Brody coughed as Myka exhaled a noxious cloud in his face.

They skipped the step and carefully ascended the stairs...

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The open road was an open mouth. The dust rose in hissing strands. The sun berated us from every angle and the A/C was spewing out its soul. They called this Hell's Highway.

It was barren, filled only with the amber hues of fatigue and discomfort. We drove onward in silence, as if the merest hint of conversation would cause our cargo to spontaneously combust. I didn't have the energy to admire his golden curls, the arch of his nose, the romance of his mouth. His eyes were forward. They were always facing forward.

A carcass in the road caused...

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"I'm not stalking you, I swear," she said to him as he stared across the produce section in the grocer.

"Oh? The coffee shop by your office I could understand. The subway too. Maybe we live on the same line. The movie theatre might have been a coincidence. And the cologne section at Macy's could be justified. I'm a little concerned that you'd appear in the same Casino, the same bar and the same strip club, but to each their own. So that you'd even say you're not stalking me, here, in a grocery store, the most obvious place for...

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