Cleaning House


Ever since Megan's family had retreated into their underground shelter, she had taken comfort in the simple catharsis of washing dishes. She didn't quite understand why herself, but she figured that it must have been the shock of her life as a privileged teen in twenty-first century America coming to such an abrupt end. She had really never considered before then that her life would be anything other than as it was, but nuclear war had shown her just how much of a fool she was.

When her father had rushed his family into their private shelter, Megan was only fifteen, and had only sat in her new room in shock for that whole first day. Upon waking the next morning, she found that her mother had assigned her and her older bother chores for the first time in their lives. While she simply accepted this as her new life, her brother had not been nearly as understanding.

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The City of Steel


The City of Steel was a great and terrible sight to behold before the Almighty struck it down with fire and stone. Now, it is naught but a shadowed ruin, and is home to the godless and desperate. No honest folk dare venture into it, or anywhere near it for that matter. But Khindr was no sort of honest folk, and for that reason, and many others, he found himself before what remained of the City of Steel's western gates.

Welcome home, Khindr, you miserable wretch, he thought to himself.

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The River and the Sea


There once was a river that began in the mountains. At first, the river was no more than a trickle coming off the mountain snow. Soon, the little trickle met other trickles and together they formed a little stream. The stream started making its way down the mountain, meeting other streams along the way. By the time they got down the mountain, they had become a creek. The creek made its way through the foothills at the base of the mountain, meeting there other creeks. After traveling together for some time, they formed a veritable river and the river ran proud and free away from the mountain where it was born. Smaller rivers joined the now great river, and soon the river was as wide as a valley and as mighty and as storm. The mighty river surged forward, knowing that nothing could stop it now. Then the mighty river met the sea, and the sea swallowed it whole. And the proud river was no more.

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Twinkle


There's a small fay creature that haunts these parts, it's told. Most think it to be a she, given the soft tinkling sound it makes. No one can say for certain, of course, as no one can say that fay creatures exactly have he's and she's among them. In any case, this fay roams the area at night and most people do naught but wonder at her.

She is a tiny thing, even for a fay. Her's is a blue-pink light that is brighter than any candle, but not as bright as the sun. She's like a star that fell from the sky and is now stuck here on the earth, twinkling still with her brother and sister stars. That's what some have named her; Twinkle.

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Dark God


It's dark in here. At least it's warm. Don't exactly remember how I got in here.

That's okay, I guess. Probably don't have anywhere important to be. Never really did. That's my own fault, of course. Always running from responsibility. Maybe this is my punishment.

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The Southern Woods


You can only walk in the southern woods for so long before you lose your mind, at least that's what everyone says. Personally I believe that to be a whole lot of nonsense. I haven't been in these particular woods very often, but I'd say I've been here enough to feel comfortable being in them.

The first time I came here was the result of a dare, and like everyone else, I honestly thought I'd become instantly lost and shortly thereafter lose my mind, but of course that didn't happen. I actually discovered what a tranquil place the southern woods are, and while I didn't appreciate it so much at the time, the tranquility stuck with me, and I would return here maybe once every three years or so when I needed somewhere to go away from everything.

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Som'Unlaf


In a land far from here, there is a forest of smoldering trees. The forest floor is covered in a thick blanket of ash and the sky is perpetually clouded with smoke. Nothing lives there save for a lone pygmy. Those who have seen him usually think him the keeper of that forest, but that is not so. In truth, that lone pygmy is waiting, for what or whom, I cannot say exactly, but I can say with absolute certainty that he is waiting for something. How can I be so certain? Why, because I asked him, of course.

Yes, he is waiting, and is completely devoted to his task, for he does quite literally nothing other than sit in the middle of the forest in a posture of meditation. When I initially asked him what he was doing, he didn’t respond at all. It was only after several more attempts that he simply replied with the word “waiting.” When I asked what it was he was waiting for, he didn’t answer, and no matter how many times I asked after that he would not say another word.

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The Phantom Pipe-Player


There once was a pipe-player who traveled from town to town to play for the children there. At every town, the children would gather to listen to him play, and every time the children would go home with tears in their eyes. When their parents would ask them why they were crying, the children would say things like, “It was too pretty” or “I feel so sad because I can’t have it.” When questioned further about what exactly “it” was, the children could never give a straight answer. Some said it was the music, some said it was the pipes, others said it was some thing that was in the latter or the former. Whatever it was that really happened was never found out, and all inquiry to neighboring towns would produce the same story, but never any new information about the pipe-player or his performances for the children. In fact, the strangest bit about the whole thing was that while the adults of each town reported seeing the pipe-player, none had ever heard him play, and stranger still, it seemed that the man had visit

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The Price of Existence


"Today we're storming the castle. Today we're going to make it stop. Too long have we been oppressed and subjugated by the whims of our corporate fathers, but no more! We the masses shall on this day reclaim our freedom!"

All around her, the mob roared in approval. Their angry faces burned with the fire of frustration and sensationalism. But she didn't feel part of crowd, rather she felt suffocated by the smoke spewing from the mouths of these revolutionaries.

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The Humanity of Killing


It was a humid, summer morning, but cool enough to surmise that autumn was on its way. It was the perfect sort for the amphibomorphs to be out and about. Of course, most mornings were in the metropical city of Daintree. In fact, it might very well have been a dry winter morning, but who really cares? Now, there was one frog-class out and about on this particular morning who was especially grateful that the city's algorithms had decided to flavor the morning as they did, for she was training for a certain competition that required no small amount of leg strength. And so, with the conditions as optimal as they were, she had set out this morning from her house to go on a run.

"Neuvis, you're pushing yourself a little harder then necessary for the warm-up, try synching your steps with your breaths" Cormon said to her.

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The Documentor and the Reclamation Officier


I always loved new things. Ever since I was small, I always wanted to see and taste and touch new things that I'd never encountered before. Sometimes this insatiable curiosity got me into some unpleasant situations, but I made it to adulthood with only a few scars and two toes missing. Nowadays, I work as a reclamation officer for the Republic of the North. It's the perfect occupation for me, as my curiosity has never truly died, and exploring new places is the greatest thing in the world to me. I work with a documentor named Pilfry Bogram, who isn't quite as excited about the job as I, but he's a good fellow. Oh, that reminds me, I forgot to introduce myself. I am Finigus Torray, and this is the story of how I conquered the North... in a manner of speaking.

The scene is a particularly stormy night in the Witching Mountains near Tolmaas, or what is left of Tolmaas. I mean, most actual cities are in total ruin now, ever since the Great War. The Republic has managed to get some pretty nice towns set up, b

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The Transition


It was a gray room in which they were assembled. So gray, in fact, that it seemed to be leaching into the air and coiling down the throats of everyone there. Already, the people in the room begin to stand a little less straight and talk in quieter and quieter voices until there is total silence. It's then that the gray figure makes its way up to the podium and begins its speech.

"Denizens of the planet Earth, I stand before you today to inform you that this planet has undergone a change in management. No longer will any of you make important decisions that might alter the course of this world. No longer will you be subjected to the foul politics of those who thought they knew better. And no longer will the truth be hidden from you. You see, the truth is that we have been among you for quite some time. Donning disguises so you wouldn't suspect us. Learning your ways, so that we might one day make a peaceful transition to our new state. That day has come, my good people, that day is today. All around the wo

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The Randi Prize


Peter could make coins disappear by snapping his fingers.

It seemed to follow some rules. One snap of the fingers made one coin vanish. The first test he'd done, after discovering this ability, was to set coins out in front of him and repeatedly snap his fingers to watch what order they were vanished in. Higher denomination coins went first. Coins that were closer to him went first. After getting out a ruler, Peter found that "close" was mostly determined by how far away the coin was from his heart. He tested snapping upside down, and on his back, but that didn't seem to matter. He tested to see what happened when a higher denomination coin was more distant than a lower denomination, and eventually found out what governed it; a penny would be vanished if it was more than five times closer than a nickel, and a nickel would be vanished if it was five times closer than a quarter.

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Seventh Horcrux


The presence of a foreign soul may have unexpected side effects on a growing child. I am Lord Volde...Harry Potter. I'm Harry Potter. In which Harry is insane, Hermione is a Dark Lady-in-training, Ginny is a minion, and Ron is confused.

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