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Everyday Drabbles #652: The Bicycle

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On the day he shipped out, he had left the bicycle out leaning against a tree, forgotten. She made a promise to herself that he would find the house just as he left it, so she kept it where it was, taking care to secure it properly and protect it from the weather.
When he never came home, she left the bicycle where it was, the dangling thread of a promise broken by war.
A tree knows nothing of grief, but it still embraced the bicycle, growing slowly around it and keeping the mother’s promise long after she passed away.

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Everyday Drabbles #651: The Forest’s Justice

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The prisoner was a thief and a horse-killer. He’d shot the mounts out of three riders pursuing him, but they’d caught him.
They were far from civilization, but there was still justice on the frontier. They branded him with a horseshoe and left him tied to a tree. The Forest was unkind to humans who harmed animals.
The thief had just worked out the worst of the knots and was planning his escape when he smelled a carrion stink on the wind.
The Forest’s breath.
And then the Forest moved, and the thief didn’t stop screaming for a long time.

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Everyday Drabbles #650: Cloud Seed

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They found the installation tucked into a forgotten corner of the museum. The three children stared at it long after the rest of the class had moved on. Their teacher had to find them when the trip was over.
Later, the three of them gathered in their secret hideout.
It looked so soft and fluffy,” Beryl said. She was the youngest.
Rusty, her older brother, scolded her. “It was all wet. How could it be fluffy?”
“Clouds,” Jade said. “I want to see a whole sky full of them.”
That was when they began planning their escape from the tunnels.

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Everyday Drabbles #649: After the Duel

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The duel was over, and so was everything that had led up to it. She had won.
She sheathed her sword and just stood there for a long time. The sun rose, and she felt its warmth on her face. She listened to the wind rustle the long grass. The birds were singing.
It was all behind her: The vow of revenge, the years of hiding, and the years of training. He couldn’t threaten her any longer. She was finally free to be a normal young woman again.
She just needed to remember how. It would start with this moment.

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Everyday Drabbles #648: Final Boss

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The massive being, almost as old as time itself, looked down at the three challengers and considered them through a god’s eyes.
They were young. Their cultures would consider them barely out of adolescence. But they had fought a hard road to get to this place, and that journey had left scars upon them, at the end.
The fact that they were hopelessly outmatched didn’t matter to them. They still raised their swords to the End Of All Things and shouted ‘no.’
For the first time in so long, it could not remember the sensation, the ancient darkness felt afraid.

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Everyday Drabbles #647: The Telepath

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He had the power to read minds. If he could see a person, their thoughts would fill his head, as overwhelming as though they were shouting in his ear.
He wasn’t even able to watch television. Recorded images still broadcast the actors’ minds, and plots became lost in their anxieties and emotions. Just a photograph would cause him to experience a single sharp stab of memory.
He realized the problem was with his eyes. If he didn’t see the person, the thoughts couldn’t come through. The blindfold helped for a while.
Then he had to resort to more drastic measures.

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Everyday Drabbles #646: The Ghost Ship

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The ghost ship appeared suddenly out of the fog, floating above the water on rotten boards and torn sails, threatening to overwhelm the little merchant ship.
The pilot rang the alarm bell as the crew panicked. “Quit your blubbering and get to your posts,” The captain growled. “Priests to the forecastle!”
A trio of holy men rushed on deck, each wearing the vestments of a different order. They chanted at the approaching craft, and it paused before fading back into the shadows.
The captain nodded, satisfied. The Haunted Sea was full of dangers, but it always paid to be prepared.

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Everyday Drabbles #645: The Bandit

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The bandit crouched along the desert road and waited, his cat by his side.
“The key to this gig is patience,” he told the beast. “When travelers come by, we’ll relieve them of their valuables. Honestly, we’re doing them a favor. All that gold will only slow down their crossing.” The cat just stared at him.
The sun climbed slowly into the sky, and no travelers came. The bandit balanced a dagger on the tip of his finger, bored and thirsty. The cat hopped up onto his back.
“Maybe you should try someplace a bit more populated,” it suggested.

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Everyday Drabbles #644: The Vacation

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He began having stress headaches and needed a vacation. He found a backwater, undeveloped planet and booked a cabin in the wilderness for a week. No email, no videophone, no ansible. Just himself and nature.
He first saw the aliens on his second day. They were spectral, hairy little things, almost like earth insects, but cute. He spent his days sketching them as they hopped and skittered over the rustic furniture. Slowly, he relaxed.
He was packing up when there was a knock on the door.
“I’m here about the gas leak,” the technician said. Suddenly, his headache was back.

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Everyday Drabbles #643: The Pillar

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The herder saw lightning on the horizon. A storm was coming fast. There wasn’t time to find shelter. She’d have to trust in the mercy of the plains.
The strange pillars of light dated the plains, glowing brightly in the darkening afternoon. Her people knew almost nothing about them, but they were always ringed by clear sky, no matter the weather.
She pressed the protesting cows closer and huddled with them. Fierce wind and rain lashed at them, but they held firm.
After the storm passed, she got them moving again. The pillars were mysterious, but hungry mouths couldn’t wait.

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