The beast

The beast was getting bolder. No longer satisfied to strike under the shadow of night, he had begun attacking at will. Another daytime raid ended the lives of an entire family of seven, helpless to defend against his brutal might…they were all gone. It was standing room only in the council hall. Voices were raised in anger and fear. The village couldn’t simply wait to be completely destroyed. Something had to be done, action must be taken to stop the monster. The council chairman called for order, his gavel thundering over the shouts of the towns people. A subdued rumble continued, as the general of the army stood to address the crowd. He spoke of feeble security measures. Cautioning residents to stay indoors whenever possible, to travel in groups for safety, and to report any sighting of the beast to the nearest defense captain. His speech was drowned out by an angry roar of disbelief. Calls for his resignation came

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Dear mother

Her heart monitor beeps were in sync with the pain that radiated through her body. The slightest movement sent electric shocks through every nerve. Shallow breaths were all she could stand, the ache keeping her just at the brink of consciousness. If she could have spoken, she would have begged for mercy, a released from her torture. Men in white coats and woman in blue shirts, stood around her bed, jotting down observations of her condition. Noting her rapid eye movement, and the tensing of her muscles. Sensors taped to her shaved head, sent out a constant stream of hums and blips with every surge of pain. One of the women, filling a syringe from a silver tipped vial, inserted the needle into her patient’s IV port, slowly emptying the chamber. Stepping back to watch the effects, the patient’s breathing resumed a normal rhythm, and her body visibly relaxed. Despite the outward indicators, her pain remained, she was merely unable

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The interview

I had interviewed authors before, but this one was going to be more difficult than anything else I’d done. At least with other writers whose work I didn’t like, because they wrote about an uninteresting topic or a literary genre I found dull, I could still find a way to make the review compelling. I did my homework on the authors. I read their latest publication as well as their older books. I perused previous interviews and articles looking for questions I could expound on. I was always well-prepared, but with this one I wasn’t sure I could be objective. My libertarian editors most likely chose me for the task because they knew how repugnant I found the book’s subject matter. It’d be a struggle to remain civil let alone give an unbiased critique. Cameron Bigelow had penned his own book of interviews. Through a collection of vignettes exploring the lives of some of the country’s most heinous criminals, Bigelow

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Stone soup

“You have less than two dollars and no access to more money. Begging is illegal and the police are vigilant. How do you get food?” Professor Oliver walked around the lecture hall passing out one dollar bills. Frantic hands went up, questions thrown out in rapid-fire succession. Oliver held up an unconcerned hand, waiting for quiet. “Figure it out. You can work in groups, but the same rules apply. Be creative!” Looking at the crumpled bills, I was at a loss to what I could buy with so little money. Well, food that I was willing to actually eat. I could afford a few packages of Ramen noodles. Maybe a box of Kraft mac’n’cheese, but I couldn’t buy any milk to make it. There definitely would be no fresh meat involved. I thought about vegetables, but I could only really afford a single potato, or onion, maybe a carrot, a stalk or two of celery. What then? The more I

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We hardly recognized her

During the first few months, we took turns sitting vigil. She was never left alone. If one of us weren’t with her, talking to her, reading from a beloved book, or playing a favorite song, doctors and interns were there poking and prodding. There were hushed discussion regarding brain activity and vital body functions. Whispering behind our hands on the off-chance that she, on some level, was aware of what was being said. It was important to always be positive when speaking aloud, to keep her hopes up for improvement… and ours. After the first year, we slacked off on our visits. We needed to return to our lives, to the living. One of us would try to stop by at least once a week, then once a month, relying on the staff to notify one of us is there were any major changes in her condition. Had she been more approachable before her accident, more amiable, perhaps we would

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Prom queen

“Not if you were the last person on earth!” She made flouncing an art form. An effortless flip of her perfectly coiffed fall of auburn hair, a quick turn on her delicate, well-pedicured heels, and she was a distant memory. A faint aroma of singed ear hairs settled in a fog around him, his cheeks burning bright red from her rebuff. What was he thinking, asking the most lusted after girl in the junior class to prom. His act of desperation wasn’t even borne out of a bet or dare. As the words left his lips, he regretted his idiocy. There was no hope that it would end well. Just as he thought he had escaped further humiliation, having timed his invitation during a lull in the usual hallway riot of students, his cell phone hummed in his pocket. Curious who would be texting him during school hours, he checked the message to find he was the subject of an

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