"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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The city was empty. I lost my way back in the dark unfamiliar landscape, absence of neon flashing landmarks to guide, silence unnerving me like nothing ever had in my one hundred and eighty years on this planet. Since immortality was the norm, the world had changed beyond all imagination, people no longer wishing to stay cramped so scattered around the galaxy, Earth abandoned, unloved, only a few of us remained as guardians. But in essence we were prisoners of our grandparents greed, innovation and biological advances.

I am a very lonely man. We all are.

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A mysterious box was sitting on the doorstep. I mean really, the box couldn't have been more mysterious, it was meant to be mysterious. It was a dark blue, almost black, with silver question marks that sparkled all over it. Two feet on each side making a cube, it wasn't wrapped, the box itself was crafted this way, some sort of plastic that fit together tightly.

It took me ten full minutes to figure out how to open it, some sort of complicated locking mechanism that open elegantly, like a Chinese puzzle box. Inside the box was a mish mash...

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

Passersby ignored the frail, shivering thing, their eyes never dropping, their heads never turning. She might have been a doll in a window, or something someone left behind. She wasn't any of their business.

A little round boy with a little round face in his little grey jacket wrapped around his little round belly poked at the girl with his little round foot.

The girl, who wasn't much older than he, looked up from the protective valley of her arms and smiled at him. The little...

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She knelt on the tile floor, carefully picking up the shards of glass. Why did it have to be this one that broke? The dust swirled from the broken jar as water trickled out, bits of greenery carried along with it. World jars were expensive, and none to easy to make or acquire.

Another small little universe left to dry on the floor. She wept a bit as she tried to sweep the glass together with her hands, avoiding the sharp edges. She really should get a broom, but the strength to stand seemed to have left her. Why did...

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What happens when life finally becomes too much to bear? He thought about it a great deal - but was unable to put hiself into those shoes. What happens when you feel death is more important than life? Or is that the wrong question to ask, he wondered. Perhaps the real question was: why had she decided that death on her own was preferable to life with him?
He had come home that day - an ordinary day like any other day - and been surprised not to find her in her usual place in the kitchen. Every time he...

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They were trapped for seven days, four storeys down, in a subway car.

Just the two of them.

Midfight, mid-breakup, mid-life-altering-altercation, the lights had flickered. Then gone out.

In the darkness Jake had offered a tentative "Hello?" and chuckled quietly.

Cooper had shouted back. At the moment they realized the darkness would not abate, that help would not come, that they were trapped, they'd retreated to opposite ends of the car.

Cooper flipped the emergency switch and forced open a door. A rotting stench flooded the car.

Doors shut again they studied the opposite end of the car.

On the...

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Simon had wanted some Crocs for ages. His mum resisted as she hated the sight of them, but she finally gave in when he pleaded for some for his birthday. He wore them day in, day out.

Footwear was always an issue in their house. They had to have so many pairs for school; outdoor shoes, trainers and plimsoles for PE, their parents found it a struggle to get them any shoes for outside of school. Having six children had it's benefits but it was a financial drain.

The end of the summer term neared.
"Have you got your trainers?"...

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Find within yourself the path to truth, and you will never steer yourself wrong.

Good Lord, what a load of crap, he thought, sharpening the shovel again.

Rely on my own internal frame of reference to tell me what is the true path? Hell, if I thought my internal compass was true, I'd be in a better place now. Isn't that right, Jenny?

No, I guess you wouldn't have much to say about it, would you?

I never thought we'd be in this position, Jen. I honestly thought we'd make it. But I followed my heart, and that led me...

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The world is a thin, hollow place.

One wrong step, and you break through the shell, and you go tumbling, tumbling down.

It is oft repeated to students that an exam is not the be all and end all in their lives, that many opportunities await all in this bountiful land of plenty.

These words are reassuring, it gives hope, and puts your life into place in comparison to all the many other people in the world, with no opportunity to even sit an exam. In some ways, it makes you feel lucky for your high, pedestalled position.

Until you...

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