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Social Touchstone

Petri was giving a lecture at a university somewhere in the future: “Good morning, class. Today, I am going to teach you about the interconnectedness of all things. In the space of thirty seconds, one person can reach into the Resplendent Receptacle of the Universe, touch 100,000 other people, and leave an unremarkable stamp on…

Ancient Sunday

The exploit was crude, but effective. Molten Hail—aptly named—melted through firewalls before freezing servers. The only survivors were hardened servers specifically designed to test every byte passing through their ports. It was one of these computers that Jeremy was analyzing when Bertha walked into the lab. “Hi, Jer. What do we have?” “Hell if I…

Proxy Apocalypse – Molten Hail Reborn

“Let’s invent a new game.” Phineas stretched his mouth into an it’s-a-beautiful-morning wake-up yawn. “Sure.” Ferb, man of few words, scratched himself in pleasurable agreement. “I’m looking for inspiration. Say! This ancient desktop computer gives me an idea ….” Phineas opened the rusty metal casing to reveal dust balls and wires. “Eh, never mind.” As…

The Wizard’s Daughter

Tomorrow’s execution would be delayed no longer. All appeals had been exhausted; the wizard’s daughter refused to repent and the bishop had no choice but to make an example of her. To do anything less would only fuel the burgeoning unrest among the peasants. This close to the harvest, the king and his advisors were…

Une Perdrix?

The bough broke. Down came the partridge: scarf, cap and all. Jamie swore. “Dammit, Kirsten, I told you to get a fir tree.” “Don’t swear on the eve of our Lord’s birth. I thought you said ‘pear’ tree and this was the closest thing I could find.” “Why would you think … ? Oh, that…

Swampland

“Class, today is set aside for our recent graduates. Before embarking on his or her individual quest, each of them must complete the Sophist’s Emancipation Course. “Successful completion of the SEC requires a demonstration of virtue, vigilance and vigor. Intelligence without purposeful action is as wasteful as an upended jug of water. Our graduates will…

A Morning with Abner #HuntForAFreshPerspective

Abner woke to the harsh reality of his smelly pillow. It and the newspapers were the only things between him and the cold, hard cement. The pre-dawn chill was actually warmer. Abner unfolded himself from the fetal curl, stretched lazily and pulled up on his trusty shopping cart until he could feel the blood trickling…

My Neighbor’s Yard

To the casual observer, Jacob Jr. was just a kid galumphing through puddles in his galoshes. But, I knew better. I had seen Jacob Jr. and his “family” snacking on the toxic blooms that had overtaken their fenced-in yard. Also, once a month, the elder Jacob took a baseball bat to a hapless chick, after…

AFTER THE LONG, HARD WINTER (PART EIGHT)

This tale began seven imaginative writers ago. I added my bit to extend it. Part One (Teresa): Winter had been hard. Harder than anyone in Goosedown had expected. It was six weeks into spring and Emily never felt better. She was finally able to get out into her garden. The spring flowers had fully said…

Alienation

Martians had no concept of prejudice. Their brains were wired like lobotomized slugs: each experience was new. Yet, their transcendent race had accumulated the wisdom to recognize xenophobia as it applied to them. I blanched at the unusual combination of smell and terror-inducing hisses emanating from my tour guide. “Plack manu frobbish, Gia?” What are…