ganymeder (joined over 9 years ago)
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Author Catherine Russell shares her life with her high school sweetheart, their son, and two ferocious puppies in the Wilds of Ohio while writing short stories, editing her novel, and learning more about the craft every day. Her work has been published in Flash Me magazine, Metro Fiction, Beyond Centauri, and the ‘Best of Friday Flash – Volume One‘ and the ‘Best of Friday Flash – Volume Two‘ anthologies.

Stories


The anti-grav boots were worth every penny.

Shelly had saved for weeks, mowing lawns, delivering papers, collecting coins from every cushion in the house, to earn enough hard cash to buy them. Her mother had told her not to waste her money, that they were probably just galoshes with springs on the bottom, but the girl refused to be deterred. The magazine ad had proclaimed them anti-grav, and there was a Truth in Advertising law on the books, so they must be the real deal.

And she was right.

But not in the way she thought she would be.

Instead...

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Malcolm's coo became a cry.

The child peeked into the cardboard box, vexation clearly etched etched upon his face. "What's the matter, little bird?" he asked, reaching down to stroke the wounded pigeon. His mother had warned him to stay away, that sometimes birds would bite and a wild bird like Malcolm could carry diseases. He didn't care. He wanted to stroke his back feathers, far enough back that the bird's beak couldn't reach his pudgey fingers... just in case.

"David! Stay away from that bird!" his mother called.

The boy yanked his finger back just as the pigeon lunged...

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Once in Beijing, a young girl in a red gown huddled in a doorway. She was hoping to catch a cool breeze as well as a paying customer as the slinky dress billowed behind her. Cigarettes were sexy again, and with lung disease the least of her worries, she inhaled with abandon. Another night, another John...

But tonight was different, because as she bent to tap the ashes from her cigarette, she saw a green cloth protruding from behind the fake potted plant near the doorway. Curiousity getting the better of her, she pulled aside the leaves to find the...

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If there was hope, it lay with the proles... or something like that. Winston, the character from that stupid book he'd been forced to read for English lit, had been whinging on about how the proles were stupid or something, but yet he seemed to find hope in their humanity. What? Why? His teacher would want him to expand on the concept, and he couldn't very well just copy the Cliff Notes word for word, nor admit that he'd simply read the synopsis. He called up Cara.

Her voice sounded sleepy on the phone. "Yeah? What do you want?"

"Why...

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The medicine man had always talked about the circle of life that continues unbroken like the circling stars in the heavens, but Mousaf had never been very religious. His village was small, but he was happy with what he had - the woven cloak on his back given to him by his long dead mother, the cello his brother had given him before the accident, and the breath in his lungs. What more could he possibly want?

So Mousaf made his living as the ancient bards had, traveling from village to village. His voice may not have captured hearts, but...

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Once, in Beijing, a young girl in a red gown huddled in a doorway. She hugged her shoulders and shivered in the form fitting dress. Too little cloth and too much cold collaborated to goose-pimple her flesh.

The man on the bed behind her called her back. She waited as long as she could before she knew he'd start complaining, and then she turned. He told her what to do. She did it. What choice did she have?

Later that evening, the Madam demanded the money she'd collected that evening. The girl pulled up the straps of her dress. "Yes,...

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Balanced on the line, he told her again, "Put it down!" Danielle wouldn't listen. She had never listened to her master.

She held the wand in trembling fingers, pointed end toward herself. "Stay back!" she called. "I'm going to use this!"

"No!" Master Reginald called. He'd reached out, without thinking, a hand. His own wand was in his robe pocket. Could he reach it in time? "You have so much to live for!"

"Like what?" Danielle screamed, tears streaming down her cheeks. "I'm the worst student in class. Even Betty Browning is better than me at everything."

The master straightened....

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The zombies beat upon the door to the church. The flowering vines clung to the brink walls like dead man's fingers, while the sun gazed relentlessly upon their torn and damaged limbs. The daylight didn't detour them. Neither did the cross, holy water, or relics. All that mattered was the thick wooden door separating them from their desire.

Cries of despair, pleas for mercy and sanctuary went unnoticed. Only the nearby birds heard and their hearts were cold and unyielding. "Sanctuary!" they screamed. "Give us sanctuary!" But the pastor and his flock refused them mercy.

Left to the sun's brilliant...

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Harry had taught her well. Any failings during the performance would be entirely her fault, but she wasn't worried.

Harry had taught her well.

She felt her hair drift about her head like a mermaids veil, her garments float on the current like a breeze, and the gaze of her lover as she fished for the key.

Harry had taught her well.

She'd concealed the key just as she'd concealed her knowledge of his affair. Not to be outdone, the student became the master of deception in...

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Her new glasses were magical. She saw the world in a whole new light. Literally. The lenses transitioned to pink shades in bright sunlight, giving her world a rosy glow like the unbridled optimism of youth. Indoors, the tint faded - though not too quickly - making her appreciate her now clearer vision.

The girl at the counter gave smiled and handed her the bill. Her credit card would hurt with this purchase, but then again...

she couldn't wait to get back outside.

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