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Everyday Drabbles #386: The Swordsman

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When the lake filled with poison, the knight looked at his sword in disgust. His sole duty was to protect his lord, his kingdom, his family. He had failed.
He felt like a vestigial organ, unable to defend against this new attack. His weapon and his ideals were relics.
He allowed his grief to move through him, and when it passed, his sword waited for him. It couldn’t cut the poison from the water, or raise the dead. But he could find the men responsible, and show them that slow poison is no match for a quick and determined blade.

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Everyday Drabbles #385: The Bluffs

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The bluffs overlooked the vast lake, carved over thousands of years of glacial erosion. He’d visited them often as a child and he wanted to climb them again while he still had the strength.
As he looked out at the horizon and felt the wind on his face, he couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed about how much smaller they’d become. He’d always known they would fall to wind and wave, but seeing them diminished still hurt him.
The dunes were towering formations in his youth. Seven-hundred years seemed too short a time for them to change so much.

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Everyday Drabbles #384: The Last Circus

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The last circus touches down on the lunar surface in a cacophony of zoological discomfort. The caged animals hate microgravity, but the return to stable gravity, even the moon’s reduced pull, is even worse for them.
Once we’re green, I clean out the cages and get them ready for transport into Armstrong City. I’m brushing down one of the lions when I see a line of scar tissue under his mane. I ping the owner.
“Boss, Leon’s got cell degradation. You’d better call the cloners.” I pet the lion and stare up through the dome at the lifeless, ruined Earth.

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Everyday Drabbles #383: Unfinished Business

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The villagers called her “The Widow.” She could be seen along the bluffs, or sometimes, on dark and desolate nights, a ship would spot her on the beach, with her lantern held high and her tattered black dress rippling against the wind.
There was some debate over who the ghost had been in life, and several likely candidates were proposed from the many widows who waited for sailors who never returned over the years. All were deemed unlikely.
The apparition continued to appear, watching the ships come and go. Someday her package would arrive, and then she would be free.

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Everyday Drabbles #382: Superweapon

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The prototype superweapon was nearly completed. The Space Forces needed something big to strike against the Earth Armada.
The lead designer was nervous as he led a team of dignitaries through the assembly floor. Finally they came to the machine. It stood on two massive legs, a giant robot over a hundred meters tall. It was painted fire-engine red, and it bristled with gun placements and spikes. Some rocket launchers were welded on for good measure.
The others stared up at it for a moment, then burst into peals of laughter. He knew he shouldn’t have made his 12-year-old co-designer.

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Everyday Drabbles #381: Haunted Castle

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The haunted castle loomed in the fog like a malevolent dragon, its empty windows seeming to watch the ghost hunters’ approach with disdain.
They parked the van in the front courtyard and started lugging in the detection equipment. “The British government is only giving us the night, so everybody stay alert,” Devon said, hoisting a EMF reader and nearly tripping over a sign for the gift shop.
As the night wore on, they combed through the drafty halls, finding nothing. The ghosts huddled in distant rooms, waiting for them to leave, and complaining to one another about ‘the boorish colonials.’

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Everyday Drabbles #380: The Factory Ruins

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“This is a restricted area. You do not have clearance to enter.” Mac stated, but he followed me into the old factory.
“I know,” I said. “So keep it down, will you?” We crept through a field of rusting cooling tanks standing like broken snow globes. Rumor had it there were still viable fuel cells hidden somewhere on site.
“Scan for energy signatures,” I told Mac, and the robot paused.
“Southwest of this position, .25 kilometers.”
“Well, let’s go, buddy!” The company had announced they would no longer supply our district. I had to find something to keep Mac going.

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Everyday Drabbles #379: Owl

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The Halloween party had just started when the doorbell rang. Scarlet answered and found a huge owl standing on her porch. The bird hooted, puffed itself up, and pushed past her into the house.
“Ignacio?” she called to her husband, unsure how to wrangle the bird as it stepped boldly into her front hall. Then she realized that it was wearing a fancy hat, glasses, and high-heeled shoes. “Evelyn? Is that you? What happened?”
The owl flapped her wings and tilted her head in reply. The witch’s curse was inconvenient, but at least she’d win the costume contest this year.

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Everyday Drabbles #378: Sand Painting

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The artist worked all night on their sand painting, staking out the perfect location on the rocky beach and using their tools to create a twenty-foot circle of whirls and loops, intricate yet subtle in its creation.
As the sun rose over the beach, they could see that the colors of the sand painting were perfect. They felt a surge of pride.
The morning joggers and shell hunters stopped to stare at the sand painting. “That’s amazing,” one said. “How do you get out of the middle?”
They looked around, and didn’t have an answer. They knew they’d forgotten something.

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Everyday Drabbles #377: The Assignment

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The bat-winged kitten curled up on the student’s desk and purred contentedly. The apprentice witch beamed up at her instructor, who didn’t share her pride.
“The assignment was to summon a gryphon,” The archmage said.
“Technically, any avian and feline combination counts.”
“Bats aren’t avians.”
“What about flying foxes?”
The old wizard sighed. She was clever, but lazy and that would cost her one day. “I was looking for a classical combination of lion and eagle.”
“But this one’s so much cuter.” The kitten stretched its wings and stared up at him with big green eyes.
“True. C-plus,” He decided.

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