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Everyday Drabbles #809: Watching the Lanterns

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Miki and George sat on the balcony and watched the lanterns.
As the last light of dusk faded, they appeared across the city, transforming the sun-bleached concrete into a sea of tiny lights. They were simple things; just candles and paper rising towards the heavens.
George tried to grab one as it floated past, but a passing air current pushed it out of his reach, and he was left with nothing but the smell of smoke.
“Hey Miki, what are they doing all this for?” he asked.
“Why do the humans do anything?” The other cat asked. “To amuse us.”

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Everyday Drabbles #808: Pareidolia

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The astronomer clicked on the first of the latest batch of hi-res photos from the new space telescope.
“Huh,” he said.
His colleague wheeled her chair over. The best science came from ‘huh,’ not ‘eureka.’
“What is it?”
“Does this nebula look like a demon to you?”
She could see it. “You’ve got the horns there, and those three bright stars could be eyes, and that long plume there is very arm-like. Maybe we’ll call it the Demon Nebula.”
“Or the Pareidolia Nebula,” he joked. The second picture came up.
“Wait a minute,” she said. “Is it waving at us?”

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Everyday Drabbles #807: Evacuation Zone

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She sneaked into the Evacuation Zone every day after school, looking for secrets. She wore her mask and gloves to protect herself from the supposedly poisoned air. But a forest had grown up in the twenty years since the fateful siren, and none of the wildlife looked sick or suffering to her.
The zone was like an open-air museum, with houses frozen in time. Inside, books lay open, and plates, their contents long since eaten by feral cats, sat hastily abandoned.
She explored the Evacuation Zone whenever she could, searching for the truth. Someday, she would find the hidden truth.

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Everyday Drabbles #806: The Firelight

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When we landed on the planet’s surface, we abandoned the generation ships that brought us here. They had served their purpose, and we were more interested in exploring the virgin wilderness of our new home.
They told us the planet was uninhabited. There isn’t supposed to be any intelligent life here. This world is ours now.
And yet, for the last three nights, I’ve seen a flickering light, like a campfire, shining from one of the massive engines on the Demeter.
Tonight, a friend and I will climb the massive, cliff-like side of the ship and find out for ourselves.

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Everyday Drabbles #805: The Sage

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Every night, the sage had the same dream. A pair of ravens fought over a dead tree, while the sky above was rent by a devastating thunderstorm. Every morning, he dutifully transcribed all he could remember. He could spot a prophecy, and this one was obvious.
The gods warned of civil war, to the ruin of all. But he was no politician. Still, he wrote letters to sew peace between the royal houses.
He did not expect a pair of armies to appear outside his hermitage, determined to keep him out of their business.
Sometimes, the gods can be subtle.

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Everyday Drabbles #804: The Inventor

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He’d never been able to explain what the machine was for.
The form had obsessed him, a massive assembly of gears and plates haunting his mind like cobwebs in a haunted house.
But he was never able to make it work. He locked it in a shed and forgot it.
Years later, his granddaughter rediscovered the machine while exploring. The shed door had long ago disintegrated around the padlock, and she slipped inside. She found it hanging in the hot, dusty darkness and fell in love.
At last, the inventor knew what the machine was for. It was for her.

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Everyday Drabbles #803: The Sound of the Ocean

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When the rest of the crew was asleep, she would sneak down to the test chamber and run her own experiment. The instrument was beautiful in and of itself; a keyboard and resonating chamber leading out into the dark water.
The scientists were studying wild cetacean communication frequencies. They would play a single note and log the subjects’ responses. 
The scientist didn’t understand. Whales didn’t communicate. They sang. So she took their million-dollar keyboard and played music. She started with simple melodies and built into complex improvisations as the creatures responded.
During the day, they communicated.
At night, they jammed.

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Everyday Drabbles #802: The Exile

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The only criminal punishment in the mountain city was exile. What greater torment than to know that paradise was forever out of reach?
The offender was tied to the back of a llama and draped with bells. Everyone in the city heard his passage.
Only a few hours later, he was stopped and freed by a strange assortment of travelers. He recognized a few of them as fellow exiles.
Their leader turned with him to the shimmering lights of the city.
“They think their beautiful cage is all there is,” she said. “Would you like to see what we’ve built?”

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Everyday Drabbles #801: The Bodega

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He loved the little bodega, even though it was rundown and hard to find. The old woman behind the counter carried the usual necessities, but she also had a secret stock.
She carried a rotating selection of odd snacks and limited-run sodas. If you wanted a discontinued flavor of chips or a promotional novelty from twenty years ago, she could find it.
“I have a specialty supplier,” she said as she rang him up for a box of cereal he hadn’t seen since he was a kid.
In the back, her time machine idled, waiting for her next supply run.

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Hugh Likes Comics: A.X.E. Judgement Day

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Written by Keiron Gillen
Drawn by Valerio Schiti
Colored by Marte Gracia
Lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles
Published by Marvel Comics

The Skinny: Marvel’s big crossover event for the summer dives deep into Superhero Politics

Spinning out of The Eternals and Destiny of X, Guillen and Schiti deliver the opening salvo in a summer event comic that promises to be a bit more than your typical hero vs. hero slugfest. Because this isn’t just a book about superheroes. It’s a book about superhero international relations.
 The Mutant Nation of Krakoa continues to dominate the world stage by doing the impossible. After terraforming and colonizing Mars last year, the secret of their ability to resurrect dead mutants has become public knowledge. The fact that they are unable to bring back humans has led to a public backlash and mistrust.
 Meanwhile, the Eternals have been facing some societal shake-ups of their own. The tumult has left scheming Druig in charge as the Prime Eternal, and many of the other immortal heroes unsure of their purpose after being abandoned by their creators, the Celestials.
 Oh, also the Avengers are using the hollowed-out corpse of a dead celestial as their new base. For reasons.
 With Druig on shaky political footing, he comes up with a plan to unify his people and secure his power by convincing them that the Mutants are byproducts of their ancient enemies, the also Celestial-created Deviants, and thus they must be eradicated. Not unfamiliar with attempted genocide against them, the Mutants on Krakoa fend off the assault. The ones on Mars aren’t so lucky. As Druig moves through more and more of his fantastical arsenal of ancient Celestial technology to use against Mutantkind, sides are chosen. But who wins in a war where both sides are effectively immortal? And will anyone else still be standing when the dust settles?
 Obviously, the answer here is going to be ‘yes’ because this is a superhero comic, but I am enjoying the way this event is spinning out less from Action-movie cliches of previous events and the more cerebral moments from Eternals and Immortal X-Men. The first issue is mostly scene setting and getting the characters where they need to be, but it’s still a strong first issue, with great writing by Gillen. The scene between Druig and Moira X, and the whole thing with the protesters (no spoilers) is just chilling.
 Schiti and Gracia’s art is excellent. I love the opening pages, which juxtapose Iron Man and Sersi having brunch against the human protesters surrounding the X-Men’s treehouse headquarters. The colors are rich and the characters are all expressive and dynamic. This feels more like a political thriller than a superhero dustup, and the art sells it when the pages are mostly talking heads.
 A.X.E. Judgement Day #1 is now available in print from your local comics shop or digitally from the usual sources.  

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