The Potentate surveyed his creamsicle tower cooly.

"Were my instructions not clear," he asked in the calm manner so many of his associates found so frightening. "Was the language I was speaking truly so difficult to decipher?"

Nobody spoke up at first, though everyone knew two things: the longer he went without an answer, the angrily the Potentate would get. The second fact, whoever spoke first stood a good chance of receiving the brunt of his displeasure. As was often the case, everyone opted for an intense anger spread over the whole group, then face being a direct target of...

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We made a little church of our own when we promised to marry. You asked me when I barely understood how to love you, and I'd been innocent so long that I think the moment you told me you loved me you became ever more desperate to snap me up. Three days after the initial declaration came the proposal. I ran away from you and hid.

You're a terrible boy. Everyone says so. I'd heard the talk since the beginning of time and I'd seen the queue of sobbing girls you left behind you. And yet.... you told me loved...

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Spinning. Thirteen years old and with my friends in some suburban backyard, spinning. Looking up at the nightime stars and spinning. Spinning until a single star became the axis around which the universe revolved. Spinning until everything made momentary sense and then dissolved away in fits of giggles and pratfalls on the grass.

Spinning, the car catching my rear bumper and turning me in a full circle so that the city became a blur.

Spinning in the pool, three somersaults in a row is what turned the pool into the ocean filled with the giant squid and the great white...

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Until now, she’d never thought of herself as pretty. She though of her body as a reclamation project. One of those trash dump sites that had filled up and had to be pounded down, covered over and made to look like something else. Something stable and pretty. Like a piece of ground someone would be willing to invest in - maybe build some houses on and raise kids without ever knowing what was underneath.

She couldn't fix everything, of course. Those scars...well, there just wasn't much she could do about them. Long sleeves, not tanning too much so they wouldn't...

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"Midnight on the roof.". That was all her note had said. He smiled to himself as he climbed the stairway up to the small rooftop. Sure he'd been a bit rough with her when he'd cornered her at the party but some girls like it that way. Well she obviously had otherwise she wouldn't have contacted him again. Panting a bit he arrived at the security door and pushed his way through. She was there waiting for him as he had hoped but he wasn't alone. "Have you met my big brothers Mark and Jamie" she said as she slipped...

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The world was so close to perfect, he hated having to point out the flaws to the designer. It was his least favorite part of the job; they always took it personally. Months to design each reality, thousands of hours of effort by the design teams, but it always came down to the lead designer to take responsibility for the deliverable.

Clients were, of course, unreasonable in their expectations of what kind of world they would live out the rest of their lives. They were clients, after all. The health and happiness of a hundred thousand subsequent generations would depend...

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The city was empty. The day had swept by on the brush of a filthy broom, skittering over the edge of the world. We were happy.

But we'd always secretly reveled in disaster situations. When the status-quo was torn asunder, that's when we came alive. It was the status quo that we couldn't deal with.

The last bits of ash were falling out of the sky. The TV said that this might be the end of it. But they also said it might not. Storm clouds at night make the world all that much darker. So we lit our candles,...

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The daring were punished. They were punished with exactly what they wanted, and found out the paucity of their imagination and desires.

It was near midsummer when the djinn arrived in Baghdad. He promised to each person, exactly what they wanted, the one thing. There were no rules, no catches. This was no monkey paw to wish upon, but a djinn in all his smoking glory, blue fire leaping from his eyes and his ears, red lightning visible from his mouth when he spoke, and a long rumbling thunder when he laughed at those that came to make their wishes....

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Nightmare. The officers had never seen anything like it. Rushing from the house they vomited not caring who could see. Ryan, only a week on the job, knew this career choice was over.

Nightmare. Samantha Walters did not know where to begin. As a psychic employed secretly by the force, she volunteered her services for his job even though the circumstances were the most horrific she had ever heard about. She did not last the day.

Nightmare. The neighbours all decided to sell up.

Nightmare. The police chief discussing the case had a nervous breakdown.

Nightmare. The photo journalists first...

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"why cross at all?" was the first thought. "why cross, or pass, or walk, or tread, or sprint or anything else of the sort?"

the sun was even lower than when the first thought started, oranges now completely red, soon black.

"or, why not." the next thought. "who am i to rethink, or revisit, or retry, or reimagine, or reexamine the path now before me?"

to my left, infinity. an unstoppable openness. to my right, the past, from whence i'd come. dust.

finally, twilight. but with my final choices, no regrets. only then could i step out in front of...

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