2070. Je regarde par la fenêtre. Les douze coups viennent de sonner à l'horloge. Sur la place, dehors, des petits chalets de toile sont montés, et regorgent de victuailles et de boissons pour les fêtards. La foule se presse, danse au son des violons, et s'embrasse et s'embrasse pour se souhaiter la bonne année.
Je tends la main vers la petite table, j'attrape mon bol de tisane et le porte à mes lèvres. Ma main tremble, ses veines sont saillantes et sa peau fripée. Les tâches qui la parsèment sont le décompte des années.
2070, le monde n'a pas changé....

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Dancing, the camera so close, so infringing on the intimate margin between her face and his chest, she tore her gaze from the lens. Awkward, having two camera men so near.

She turned in his arms, leaned towards him and he lifted her by the waist, and she lifted her leg, forming the shape of a four.

On the stage again, the cameras rushed with her as she leapt across the stage. When she stopped and stood to her toes, a camera met her at eye level. She looked directly into the lens.

"Oh." The man's left eye, peeking from...

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Two rows of terrified youth, each plastered, clingingly, to the fences on opposite sides of the tennis court. 16 bouncing 4-square balls. 16 times times 20 opponents per side: the numbers were staggering. The odds of being struck by lightning paled in comparison. You could win lotto 35 goddamn times before you'd escape a barrage like this.

And someone said "GO!"

They raced to the balls, grabbing all the resources they could muster for their side, hoarding the ammunition. When one side has only 3 balls, it's much easier to keep track of who's hunting you.

Her side had 11...

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Walking briskly through the grey tainted forest, beads of sweat gathered on his forehead, gaining momentum before they trickled down his sullen face. The pale moon was high in the sky, befriending twinkling stars that seemed to swirl around whenever he tried to find consolation in their presence. From far away, an owl hooted into the night.

He didn't have a hand to hold. Lost, yet not lost, he was confused. Knowing who he was, what year it was, and where he was were all facts that he had down. But he wasn't sure of his exact location. Then again,...

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My discovery took the world by storm.

The university had sent me to South America to carry out research into unfound species in the Amazon forest. The remit was wide, almost too wide, in fact, as wide as the forest itself. After all, where do you start? And, what was I looking for?

The going was hard. Dense foliage, humidity, bugs, leeches, snakes, ants and a million other species that wanted me...for lunch. Then I saw it...nestling in the thick vegetation, it looked out at me with eyes that seemed to be on the end of sticks. I approached it...

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"But why are there cracks?"
"Each of them is a single stone."
"Where do the stones come from?"
"Stones are made by the Earth. These stones..."
"Why?"
"Why what?"
"Why does the Earth make stones?"
"Time and pressure."
"Not how. Why?"
"I don't know. But these stones are shaped by people."
"Why?"
"To pave the road."
"Why?"
"So we can walk on it."
"That stone is broken."
"It will be replaced."
"They have more stones?"
"They will make more."
"What if they don't?"
"What if they don't what?"
"What if they don't make more?"
"They will make more."
"But what...

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"Hey! You! Jackass!"

Geoff was trying to make eye contact -- or, failing that, ear contact -- with the ferris wheel operator below. Geoff and Jo had been stuck at the top of the ride for more than five minutes now. And the effort might not have been so much in vain were they not surrounded by a cage.

No response. Of course.

"Will you knock it off?" asked Jo. "He'll get to it when he gets to it."

"It's just. Gah!" Geoff started rocking the ride. Back and forth, back and forth, the range of motion increasing each time....

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It felt like I was just waking up. I shook my head. I looked at my surroundings. A boxing ring. People cheering. Is there an ape in the crowd?
Who am I?
I'm German. I'm a boxer. People are expecting something from me. Act German.
I did a militaristic dance, taking no joy in it like I might once have. I knew my opponent. We had been in the ring before.
He beat me then, I knew he'd beat me now.
I shouted something in German. I knew no one would understand me. It didn't matter. I went into the...

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Rose wished she'd never agreed to that picture.

The look, the provocative stare, running her hands through her hair like that? That wasn't her. How did she expect to be taken seriously as an author when her picture looked like an ad for those 1-800 numbers, the ones they put on late at night with the skimpily clad women.

Maybe she could play it off. "I write humor; it was a joke!" she'd claim. The truth was, authors got paid almost nothing to bare their souls to their readers. It didn't matter if it was humor, scifi, or even detective...

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The children were not at school. Not today with a masked gunman roaming the streets. Everyone was indoors with the doors bolted, probably hiding in closets, attics or basements.

Jess was outside in the sunshine, on the swing. Whooshing high in the air and back down, laughing aloud, breaking the silence, wondering where the helicopters were, the swat cars, armed police.

She felt as though she was the only person left on earth.

Perhaps she was.

That's what the gunman thought when he spotted her long dark hair through the gap in the fence.

He was tired by now, wanted...

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