I stand on the fine sand, gazing out to sea. We stood here before, didn't we? You and I. Younger, then. Innocent perhaps. Lovers learning about each other in those early days.

The time we spent on this beach was perfect. Like an advert on TV for far flung luxurious holidays. Our own private paradise. We didn't want it to end, did we?

A man walks past. Dressed in green trunks, he glances at me. I signal to him and buy. He's feeling lucky now. Selling watermelon and coconut is not easy at this time of year. I feast on...

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The results were in: she had earned "third runner up" honours.

"Top five ain't bad!" Jeff said encouragingly.

"It's four spots worse than good," Melanie grumbled. "I don't want to be 'not bad'; I want to win something! I want to be recognized!"

Jeff sighed. "I recognize you," he reassured her. "I recognize you more than anything else, or anyONE else, in the whole world. Why do you think I married you?"

"Chocolate trifle," she sniffed.

"Well..." he grinned. "Ok. You got me. I married you for your chocolate trifle. But AFTER the trifle, you're the most important thing in...

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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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god finger-painted the sky in blue, and glued on layers of fluffed cotton for the feel of it. he carefully arranged macaroni noodles below it, forming the shapes of volcanoes, of funeral pyres. he was making a field. he imagined sun ripened workers tending his pasta land, sweating and itching, and he made it so. they did not have time to wonder who created them. god was thoughtful enough to give them mountains to look at. he was proud of that. he took his artwork home for his mother to see.

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It was the fall that surprised me most. Stumbling, suddenly in darkness, in a vile body that felt alien, so different, so limited, so odd - nothing to...before.

They never believed me, never believed what I said, when I tried to explain where I belonged (this tongue is clumsy and cannot say the words I need - I use words like "sky" and "stars" and "above" and "far" but none of them even begin to describe home - home is the closest approximation I have, but it is, I find, unhelpful)

They tell me that such things - I -...

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Finally, the door swung open. The light was brilliant and painful after so much time i the dark; not so brilliant as His, of course, but the effect was much the same.

"DO YOU LIKE IT?" His voice boomed. "IT ONLY TOOK ME A WEEK. SIX DAYS, IN FACT."

They stared stupefied. Where there had once been nothing, there was a giant celestial body, a blazing fire fixed in the heavens. Closer, there was a spinning blue-white sphere orbited by a pockmarked satellite.

And upon that globe, tiny things moved about, hunting, gathering, eating, sleeping, fucking.

"What?!" They screamed incredulously....

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There was a man who rode on a white horse. He wore a golden cloak. He was handsome and upright in posture. When he passed by, people stopped to stare and to whisper among themselves.
"Who is he?"
"Where does he come from?"
And, although they did not know the answer to these questions, they knew he was good and bold and wonderful. A hero.

There was a man who rode a black stallion. He had a large hat, flopping over his brow. Below the brim, a bright red scar was visible - a slash across his cheek. He slumped...

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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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The conversation lasted two words: "Fuck You!".

Turns out walking out of a bargin with a demon wasn't quite that easy though. As James turned his back to the demon he'd just crossed and bound, he strode through the doorway out into the street. He wasn't five paces from the door when it exploded outwards fire splinters into the car park, taking his legs from under him.
The demon paced around the fallen man. The demon taunted him with words in a tounge which was painful to hear. Knowing his end to be near James called on energy from his...

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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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